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Mythology – Sisyphus

Sisyphus was given a punishment by the gods, to push a rock up a
hill, only to have it fall down on him again. Mersault is a person
accused of murder who has spent over a year in jail. What both these
characters have come to realize is that they are forced to live in these
situations created by the gods, therefore they might as well enjoy or
get used to them.
Mersault is forced to live in a cell, without his cigarettes,
and with limited visitation rights. When this happens, Mersault recalls
what his mother told him. She said, ?One gets used to everything.? When
Mersault realizes he is not going to get out of jail, he becomes
indifferent, just like he always does, and accepts his situation,
searching for any positive aspects to his incarceration. He defies
punishment by accepting his situation and enjoying himself in jail.
Therefore, the whole point of Mersault going to jail is obliterated.
When Mersault is condemned to death, he does not act surprised, although
he wishes he did not have to die. After a while he also accepts that. It
does not matter to him that he is dying, so long as he is dying for a

Sisyphus is damned for eternity to roll a rock up a hill. If he
were to view his fate decreed upon him as punishment, for the rest of
forever, then he would only sicken an already terminally ill situation
(speaking metaphorically of course). Sisyphus starts to find meaning in
his work, starts to enjoy his work, almost to take pride in his work,
like a true laborer.

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Mersault is like Sysiphus, in many ways. The only real notable
difference is that Sisyphus has been punished by the gods, whereas
Mersault does not believe in god. Mersault is indifferent to his
situation, as is Sisyphus, as apparent from Camus’ description. Mersault
and Sisyphus both expressed a love for life (Mersault’s heart jumped at
the idea of being pardoned, Sisyphus is being ?punished? due to his
desire to stay in the real world). And most importantly, Mersault and
Sisyphus both defy their detractors. They overcome their rulers.
Mersault does not do it to prove anything to anybody. He just does it
because it would be pointless to act any other way. With Sisyphus he can
hold his head higher than the gods now, his work has ceased to be
punishment, the gods have lost, he has won.
For Mersault and Sisyphus to overcome their struggles, they had
to be placed in one. Their background for reaching their struggle is
what makes them unique. Recalling such people with different
philosophies, like the Denver Nuggets most explosive player
Mahmoud-Abdul Rauf, who believes in not standing up for something he
does not believe in, he has shown that by standing up for a different
philosophy than most people believe in can lead to rejection and
tragedy. What was special about Mersault was where his priorities lay,
which made him think different from everybody else, therefore enabling
the world to brand him. Mersault is the anti-Christ because he smoked
and drank coffee at his mother’s funeral. Sisyphus was not regarded by a
society as a vile person, but he was not accepted, he did not have
interaction with them. These odd situations placed them both in
struggles for their un-redeemable acts.

Mersault converses with the warden to discover that ?prison
deprives one of freedom.” He understands that incarceration is
punishment, just as Sisyphus did. They both move on to view their
positions from a different perspective. Sisyphus moves from his position
of sadness, to a position of happiness, mainly, in my view, to defy the
gods, therefore it is not true happiness just defiance. He ?…obeys
fate without knowing it,? as Oedipus did. Similarly Mersault accepts his
imprisonment with the same kind of indifference that he takes everything
else. Mersault, in fact, makes his own freedom by hanging on to his
memories, he overcomes imprisonment, because he really is not imprisoned

Mersault can be considered a real world interpretation of
Sisyphus, only a lot different and emotionless. Mersault has never
really expressed a desire for anything, whereas Sisyphus’


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