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Albert Camus The Myth Of Sisyphus Essay

Albert Camus? ?The Myth Of Sisyphus? Essay, Research Paper Albert Camus? essay, ?The Myth Of Sisyphus? is an insightful analysis of the classic work, ?The Myth Of Sisyphus?. In some regards Camus? view of Sisyphus can seem quite accurate and in tune with the original text, but based on Camus? interpretation of the justness of Sisyphus? punishment, it is clear that the writer has some different ideas as well.

Albert Camus? ?The Myth Of Sisyphus? Essay, Research Paper

Albert Camus? essay, ?The Myth Of Sisyphus? is an insightful analysis of the classic work, ?The Myth Of Sisyphus?. In some regards Camus? view of Sisyphus can seem quite accurate and in tune with the original text, but based on Camus? interpretation of the justness of Sisyphus? punishment, it is clear that the writer has some different ideas as well. Camus concludes that this punishment does not have the effect the Gods had intended, and ultimately the tragic hero must be seen as being ?happy?. This is his greatest departure from the intent of the original myth wherein the reader is left with the feeling that Sisyphus? punishment can be seen as appropriate and just.

As his punishment for repeatedly outwitting the Gods, Sisyphus is forced to roll a great rock up a steep hill only to have it roll back down each time he reaches the top, forever condemned to repeat the process over and over again. It is this punishment that Camus is most focused on, as the topic of Sisyphus? trickery only comes up to give the reader some background on the story. It is unusual however that Camus considers this punishment as an, ?unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing?, and at the same time assumes that; ?The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man?s heart.? The gratification that one might find through hard work could certainly be seen as an accomplishment, but it?s hard to see how this pertains to Sisyphus. Camus states that, ?the workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks?, and that his fate is, ?no less absurd.? If a man whistles while performing his laborious job it is only because it is assumed that the fruits of his labors will be recognized and rewarded, if only with a paycheck. For Sisyphus there is no reward, and certainly no means to an end.

As the extent of Sisyphus? punishment is only described in the original story by a single sentence, Camus takes great pains in describing the psychological effects it has on Sisyphus, and the mental state he must be in to endure such an ordeal. In describing this, Camus focuses on the point at which Sisyphus makes his decent back to gather his great rock. It is at this point that Camus makes clear as to why he considers Sisyphus an ?absurd hero?. Assuming that this punishment can only be considered tragic if Sisyphus becomes conscious of it, Camus points out that it is during this descent that our main character becomes aware of his awful state, and in doing so becomes, ?superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock.? Camus suggests that Sisyphus is at ease with this punishment because in this ?absurd? universe, man?s fate is the only thing that can be shaped by man, and in doing so, that fate belongs to man. Sisyphus? rock belongs to him.

If it is possible to see Sisyphus as conscious during his descent, then it is surely possible that he is aware of his predicament during his grueling ascent as well. Is Sisyphus not ?conscious? of the horrible punishment that he has been handed by the Gods as he makes his way up the hill with his rock? It is his ascent that allows the reader of the original story to remember what this act is supposed to represent, and it is the ascent that Camus, although he describes it physically, fails to mention. Sisyphus? punishment is supposed to be viewed as futile and apt. In this way the story?s message is held intact. It is probably for this reason that the original myth makes little mention of the punishment itself.

It?s easy to see based on his essay; Albert Camus would have liked Sisyphus to have one more trick up his sleeve. Instead of a just punishment, Camus sees it as Sisyphus? greatest victory over the Gods, but it is not clear whether this is what the original text was meant to represent. Camus states that, ?myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them?, and he surely takes advantage of this. If it is true that Sisyphus truly owns his fate and is the master of his own ?absurd? universe, then that should be seen as his greatest punishment of all, for it does not amount to very much, and as Camus himself pointed out, ?the rock is still rolling.?

Bierlein, J.F. ?The Myth Of Sisyphus.? Lives Through Literature A Thematic

Anthology (3rd ed.). Helane Levine Keating and Walter Levy. New Jersey:

Prentice Hall, 2001. 1042-43.

Camus, Albert. ?The Myth Of Sisyphus.? Lives Through Literature A Thematic

Anthology (3rd ed.). Helane Levine Keating and Walter Levy. New Jersey:

Prentice Hall, 2001. 1044-46.

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