The Stranger includes a character named Meursault who has no emotions, and “The Myth of Sisyphus” has a character named Sisyphus who is the absurd hero. Meursault is a person who also does not put a value on anything, which presumably makes him live in “bad faith” as he does not make his own choices. However, Sisyphus is a person who has to endlessly roll a boulder up and down a hill, because he has angered a god. Despite the differences in origin, they share a lot in common such as they both can make a disadvantageous situation seemingly better (for themselves), both do not treat their families with care, and both have been punished for something wrong that they have done.
First, both characters can make something bleak appear in not such a bad way because they have conquered this idea of suffering through their conscious. For example, Meursault, when asked about life, says to his boss “I answered that one never changed his way of life; one life was as good as another, and my present one suited me quite well (Camus 28)”.
This shows that Meursault believes that one life was as “good as another”, supporting the fact he does not place value on anything. If he did, then he would believe that some lives are preferable to others, but after claiming this, it is confirmed he in no way would feel more content if he was the richest man on Earth. Moreover, this relates to the point he can find happiness in anything because if every life is pretty much the same, he could easily look at his own life as happy and even says that one never changes their way of life.
Some might even go as far as to say that bad moments do not even exist in Meursault’s life. Going back to Sisyphus, this relates to him because Albert Camus talks about how Sisyphus feels due to his punishment. During his article, Camus writes about how Sisyphus’s boulder is similar to how an everyday person’s life is. Both repeat the same thing every day in their daily routine, and the thought of how close the relationship between what Sisyphus does and what humans makes Albert Camus view Sisyphus as a happy man. To conclude, both relate because they can feel satisfied even in a bad spot in their lives.
Second, although both are not to be considered abusive, they do not seem to treat their families with much care. As for Meursault’s case, he does not even know when his mother dies as he took her to a senior home, claiming he could not care for her. Regardless, he still does not seem sad throughout the chapter about his mother’s death and does not have a response to this. Right off the bat, he claims “Maman died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know (Camus 3)”. This heavily shows that he is devoid of any feelings for his mother and does not show much care for her wellbeing at all. As a reader, it is even possible to see Maman as a bad son for his actions and feelings. Moreover, this relates to Sisyphus because he wants to beat his wife. After all, she listened to him rather than giving him a proper burial. Even though she was just doing what she asked him to do, he ignores this fact and goes back into the real world to punish his wife. These examples demonstrate how both characters do not show concern for their family members.
Third, both have been punished for wrong actions that they committed, as Meursault killed an Arab by shooting him, and Sisyphus angered a god and trapped death. We already know that Sisyphus’s punishment is ceaselessly rolling a boulder up and down a hill, but Meursault’s punishment is said to be “told me in bizarre language that I was to have my head cut off in a public square in the name of the French people (Camus 37)”. Therefore, they lastly relate the fact that they will both be punished for doing something that is seen as wrong by an “authority”. In Sisyphus’s case, the authority is the god he has angered, and Meursault’s authority is the judge who sentenced him to execution. Overall, it is perceived that both have done something wrong for them to be seen as criminals of society and have furthermore been punished for their actions.
In conclusion, Albert Camus’s main characters from both “The Myth of Sisyphus” and The Stranger are similar in their thought processes. Even though they both come from completely different backgrounds, they both still, on a subtle level, relate philosophically because of how they act. Digging deeper, both commit bad actions, do not care for their families, and are content with the darkest of situations. The reader of both workers can infer that these characters are both reincarnations of the absurd itself and for that reason can be established as having the same “morals”.