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The theme of alienation in the works of Albert Camus

Timmins, B. C. (1970) The theme of alienation in the works of Albert Camus. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Perception of the absurd leads to rejection of God, but also to alienation from man through rejection of values. An ‘All or Nothing’ attitude (in any case often ambiguous) further alienates the absurd hero from the moderate mass of mankind. Caligula and others seek to re-establish values totally, through emulation of God. They fail because of their inadequate imitation, and are alienated from men through their absurd vision. Yet most Camus’s heroes seek union with man and the world. A quantitative concept of living is gradually abandoned for qualitative concepts such as ‘comprehension’. There is a movement from ‘All or Nothing’ towards ‘limits’, from solitude towards solidarity, but only within the human sphere: since the universe cannot be explained, there is economy of effort in concerning oneself only with man. Rieux for example seeks consolation for man’s condition through its temporary improvement. ‘Limits’ presuppose accepted values. The saint without God seeks to discover these independent of God, and faces too the problem of imposing values without causing harm. This leads to the passive approach of ‘comprehension’, and the movement from a search for principles to a faith in intuitive goodness. Man’s innocence is a prerequisite to his establishing of values independent of God. Camus focuses upon particular example of communion among men leading to happiness through escape from human alienation, whilst preserving lucid rejection in principle of man’s condition.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1970
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:48

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