Weighing The Scales Essay, Research Paper
Self defense is a defense of one s own person, property, or reputation. Premeditated is considered or planned before hand. Did Meursault, in the story The Stranger, by Camus, have a right to kill the Arab? Were Meursault s actions in the wrong? Was it his battle, or should he have walked away?
Sundays for Meursault, are usually stagnant days, no routine, no fun, no importune outings. This Sunday, however, was the climax of the novel s action, leading us to Meursault s philosophical insight and conversion, and then to his decapitation. It was one of those mornings when I should have stayed in bed. Certainly this is true in Meursault s case. This day, as we will discover is Meursault s last day of physical freedom, his last day to enjoy swimming and sunning and being with the girl he loves, and Camus has already prepared us for this most unusual and fateful day by blackening Meursault s waking mood and accentuating it with the brightness of Marie s gaiety.
It s extraordinary that Meursault feels particularly bad, most unusual for someone who was eagerly anticipating this bit of a holiday. The day was looked forward to providing Meursault a chance to get away to the beach with his friends. Moments later, Meursault describes himself as not only feeling rather ill, physically, but as if he were stroke down gleaned by the morning sun. Therefore that kind of puts Meursault in a bad mood basically.
Raymond Sintes is one of Meursault s dearest friends. He lives on the same floor as Meursault, and is a pimp. To take things back to square one of the situation, everything happens because of Raymond. The main Arab that they got into it with, was the brother of one of the young lady s he was pimping. The Arab had problems with Raymond because he beat his sister. Therefore he was coming for revenge.
Despite Meursault s weariness, one cannot say now that Meursault is totally indifferent to the Arab; this is mutual fear that we view, each of the men simultaneously reaching for their weapons when they encounter one another. Meursault grips Raymond s pistol in the picket of his coat, where he keeps his knife. To Meursault, the Arab, even though only ten yards away is only a blurred, dank form wobbling in the heat haze. At times, Meursault could see the Arab s eyes, glowing against the sound of waves and the weight of the molten sun.
The confrontation first begins when the men are only a few steps apart. Raymond steps forward and when one of the Arab s lowers his head, Raymond lashes out, shouting at Masson. Masson is the owner of the cottage at the beach visited by Raymond, Meursault, and Marie the day of the murder; friend of Raymond. Masson then throws his appointed Arab into the sea, and Raymond, proud of punishing his already bleeding Arab, foolishly breaks for a moment to shout to Meursault that he ain t finished yet, hoping to beat the Arab the same way that he did the Arab s sister.
A sense of national returns to Meursault. He has no quarrel with this Arab; their relationship seems an empty meaningless one. But Meursault did write the letter, he has forgotten the fact as he thinks that all he need do is turn his body around, move his feet, and walk away and think no more of the Arab. But he cannot. He feels the sun pulsing within the sand beneath his feet, pressing up the length of his body and, instead of turning, Meursault moves toward the stream and toward the Arab.
Meursault tells us that at that moment the trigger gave, and the smooth underbelly of the butt jogged my palm. Reality was then vanished at this point. There is no conscious gripping the trigger, aiming and firing; the trigger gave way and, as it were, the gun fired and Meursault heard a crisp, whip crack sound. He does not tell us that he saw the Arab s body fall, he does not tell us much more at all, only that he fires four more shots into the dead body and yet could see no visible trace of the bullets entering his body. We have witnessed a murder. There is a dead body which Meursault continues to fire into, yet there seems to be no evidence of a murder, no visible signs of murder.
The emphasis is not so much on the murder of the Arab, but on Meursault s return to consciousness. He is aware that he has committed an act of sever consequences. For once in his life, which heretofore had been assembled of meaningless acts, he has acted so definitely that the consequences will not be meaningless, will matter one way or another. He knows, he says, meaningless, will matter one way or another. He knows, he says, that he has just destroyed the balance of day. Until Meursault composed the letter for Raymond, he simply lived; nothing very exciting ever happenend to him; days began and days ended and these days added up into monotonous years. This was not so following the letter of the Arab girl. The Arabs have a natural resentment for their French colonial invaders and a human desire for revenge. Meursault, by chance, by having no objection, became involved in Raymond s emotional escapades and, by chance, Meursault murders the man who once stalked Raymond. Because of this decision, he now faces a life directed toward a certain death.
Meursault could have easily walked away. Self defense did not play a part in this because in reality, the quarrel had nothing to do with him, so therefore he was not in real danger. It was all about the Arab and Raymond. Raymond beat the girl, so therefore the girl s brother wanted to beat him. Raymond s hand struck the blow, that s all on him. It s nice how friends stick up for other people, but is it truly worth dying for. That has got to be the best and most wonderful friend in the world to take that step and that chance.
Through careful examination of the situation I have came with the closing that he was in no danger but what he put himself into. I really don t believe that this event was premeditated either. I think it was a spare of the moment event. While he was deciding on weather or not to pull the trigger, it basically just happened. He was just standing there thinking, and it just happened. And for him to shot him 4 more times, he has to have a lost his train of thought. He was thinking at all the way I see it. He was thinking, but he s mind wasn t on what he was doing. Between the sun, his sickness of not feeling to well, and the anger balled up inside of him, it was a little too much for him, and all that was on his mind at one time.