The StrangerAlbert Camus

The Antiheroic Traits of Meursault in The Stranger

3 Mins read

In Albert Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault struggles through life without any real ambitions. He’s a misfit living in a society that seeks to categorize and judge its members. He’s at odds with his environment and himself, as he consistently says things that violate social norms, like stating that his feelings don’t change according to the time of day. Despite these antiheroic traits, Meursault is an interesting character who is worth studying for understanding the novel better.

Meursault and The Stranger

Meursault is the protagonist in The Stranger by Albert Camus. He is the only character that we get a first-person perspective of in the novel. Through Meursault, Camus can present an antiheroic figure that serves as the vehicle for his philosophical views on existentialism and rebellion against conformity.

Meursault is an antihero, and this is evident right at the beginning of Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger. Meursault is callous, apathetic, and he refuses to take responsibility for his actions. He doesn’t believe in moral code or social mores. Later in the book, we come to understand why Meursault has these traits–his mother died when he was young, and his father always overlooked him.

Why Does Camus Consider Meursault to be an Antihero?

Camus contrasts Meursault with “heroes” like the murderer, Creon, and the priest, Father Paneloux. Heroes are often described as strong, courageous, and loyal to their community. They have a sense of purpose that they stick to no matter what.

On the other hand, Meursault is not strong or brave. He doesn’t really have goals that he believes in completely. He is someone who does whatever he wants without any consideration for consequences. Meursault, the protagonist in The Stranger, is not traditionally heroic. He doesn’t act to save lives or have a desire to be recognized for his heroism. Rather he just wants to live a life unencumbered by society’s rules and regulations. Camus considers him an antiheroic character because of his rejection of the traditional hero archetype.

What are the Antiheroic Traits of Meursault?

Meursault is a character in Albert Camus’s The Stranger. He is the antihero who commits an act of murder, which he believes was rational and just. There are many antiheroic traits of Meursault including his lack of motivation to do anything, an indifference to social norms, and a disregard for other people.

The antiheroic traits of Meursault are his indifference, his aloofness, and his detachment. He has an indifference for the world around him, he doesn’t really care about others and goes about life in a detached manner. He is also aloof, or distant from the world around him. He doesn’t participate in society and doesn’t seem to care what other people think of him.

Read About: The Theme of Existential Choice in The Stranger

Meursault is an antihero because he lacks empathy. He doesn’t seem to care about the feelings of others, and in fact he’s indifferent to death of his mother. For example, he doesn’t give much interest about what people think of him or his actions. His lack of empathy is also apparent when he kills an Arab guy.

What Does Meursault’s Lack of Emotions Signify?

The lack of emotions Meursault displays throughout the novel may be interpreted in many ways. One interpretation is that he is a sociopath who does not feel any guilt or love, but this theory can’t be confirmed. Another theory is that he lacks empathy due to his detachment to society and its norms, thus making him an antiheroic figure.

Meursault is a disinterested protagonist; he does not care about the death of his mother or his friend’s suicide. However, this lack of interest can also be interpreted as indifference and naïveté, which show that Meursault is not a bad person. He has trouble understanding other people and human emotions because he has grown up in a society that values rationality and logic instead of emotions. Meursault’s lack of emotions throughout the novel has been interpreted as being a sign of apathy and disregard, but it can also be seen as a sign that he is not in touch with his feelings. This is supported by the fact that he does not cry when his mother dies.

In this sense, Meursault is an antihero who distances himself from things to keep himself focused on what matters most to him. On this final point, while Meursault denies feeling anything for being incarcerated, he also claims that he would gladly go back to prison if it meant being able to replay the experience again and kill another Arab man.


The Stranger is an interesting piece of literature because it does not follow the conventional narrative. In fact, it’s a story that breaks many rules and conventions. However, this story is still successful because it contains a protagonist who is antiheroic in nature.

Meursault is antiheroic because he lacks any semblance of compassion or emotion. He also kills someone, which would normally be considered the ultimate crime in society. Despite these actions, he isn’t persecuted for his crimes and in fact uses his status as an outsider to transcend society’s impositions on conformity.

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