Feb 16, 2018 in Argumentative Essay

According to the style and peculiarities of the narration, we can consider the Albert's Camus "Stranger" as work with a style that is most effective of the two other, Racine's "Phaedra" and Homer's "Odyssey". Taking into consideration the age of existentialism, this work emphasizes all special features of this school. The first one is alienation of one person from the society due to the special features, which are characteristic of every people. The main dogma of this school is freedom of self-realization and preservation of the genuine nature of people. In order to bring the idea to the reader, the author created a bright individuality of the main character Meursault. He starts the very narration from the statement of his character type: "MOTHER died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure." (Camus). Many usual people care about the death of their relatives, especially of the mother's, but the character cannot remember the precise date of her death. It emphasizes his alienation from the usual people. The main conflict, idea and style peculiarities lie in the main character who expresses the idea of absurd of reality. As to "Stranger", originally, Meursault acknowledges that he cannot feel genuine grief for death of the mother, he feels boredom. He knows that there is nothing that can be dear to him. The character is a stranger, just a spectator who indifferently observes the passing events; in the last resort, he can feel physiological fear or physiological pleasure. However, he has one passion and love nature. He used to admire the nature, physical nature; he can watch it for hours without any boredom. Meursault can be away from his close people but be with nature. He likes three elements: earth, sea and sun; he can feel it with all his body. Here, he is not just an observer but the greatest fan. The sun and its shine infiltrate his body and flow in his blood. So, it can be said that the author created a very contradictory character that cannot be understood by other people. He cannot feel the happiness in the company of people but has "humblest pleasures" (Camus): "And then a rush of memories went through my mind—memories of a life which was mine no longer and had once provided me with the surest, humblest pleasures: warm smells of summer, my favorite streets, the sky at evening, Marie's dresses and her laugh." (Camus). Postwar literature of Camus is characterized by using cold and rational style of narration and can be referred to the new classicism. All features of this style can be observed reading "The Stranger" by Albert Camus.


The style of the Homer's "Odyssey" is made of the epic narration about the clever and skilful seafarer Odyssey or Ulysses. The text is presented in the hexameter that consists of six feet with the necessary pause called caesura inside of the third and fourth foot. Because of the difference between the Ancient Greek and English languages, sounding of the Greek hexameter is far from the English one.

In order to make comfortable narration, rhapsodies used figures of epic narration: repetition, simile, frequent epithets, which date from the folklore. Epic poems are characterized by using of "typical moments" formulas, which were used with small changes every time when the narration tells about the iterative event or expression. For example, "Ulysses, noble son of Laertes" ("Odyssey"), "When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared," ("Odyssey").

Also, the main characteristic for epic poems is unfolded similes: "Father, son of Saturn, King of kings." ("Odyssey").

Formulaic elements of the epic style are not so important from the point of view of narration techniques; however, they create an impression of the particular steadiness and invariability of the epic world. For creators of epos and its audience, there are no events in the world which do not deserve attention; all matters in the world, the twists and turns of life of heroes and the origin of the object or person in the epos also present the highest concern. This even distribution of attention leads to the equal circumstantial narration in epos about the miraculous salvation of the Ulysses during the terrible storm, about the great feasts, about the beating of suitors and so on. All events are fully described in the style of the "Odyssey".

Fullness, completeness, variety of the artistic world of Homer's poem made it standard for Ancient Greek culture. This style has been borrowed by Vergil in "Aeneid". Many authors from the Renaissance epoch copied the style of the Homer's poems. So, this style became very popular when the culture of the European states turned to the Ancient culture. Homer managed to create the work that can bring us to the ancient world with its coloring and culture. Reading his works, it feels as if we live in the world with ancient Greek gods and go through all the adventures described by Homer. Homer believes in what he is saying, and it makes other to believe in his words. Although some events are exaggerated, the story is clear and understandable to the reader. Descriptions of the heroes and gods amaze with their details.


The style of the Racine's "Phaedra" tends to the original tragedy of Sophocles "Phaedra". It is made in accordance with the classic tragedy with the introduction of characters "characters Theseus, son of Aegeus and King of Athens. Phaedra, wife of Theseus and Daughter of Minos and Pasiphae" (Racine). There are remarks about the actions that should be made during the play: "The scene is laid at Troezen, a town of the Peloponnesus"(Racine), "(to OENONE) (Racine). It is made due to the structure of the ancient tragedies. This style is preserved even in the modern tragedies. The author used the special alexandrine verse. Particularly, this style was widespread in the period of the French classical tragedy (Corneille, Racine). Rhythmically, Alexandrine verse is characterized by breaking up to two hemistiches which are comprised of six syllables. In every hemistich, there are two stresses: one is fixed (at the end "accent fix"); various combinations of this stresses give 36 figures, they make rhythmical movement of Alexandrine verse. Originally, Alexandrine verse was only syllabic verse, but in the result of constant evolution, it got clear tonic structure. This style is made to emphasize the ancient coloring of the tragedy based on the ancient tragedies. Also, this type of the structure was easy for reading and playing. Racine belonged to the upper class; he told his tragedies to the King and other nobility that is why the style of the tragedy should be clear, high and interesting to the audience. The choice of words was dictated by the audience, too, and the author tried to use them in order to emphasize the tragedy of the main character Phaedra. Due to the implementation of the idea, the author managed to render it. The original idea has been changed due to the author's outlook about the nobility. Phaedra, being the queen, cannot afford herself to blame her stepson in the corrupted love to her, so, author transferred this action to the Oenona. Nurse, as the author believed, could be able to do such a bad action. The author had not changed the original style of the tragedy preserving the rigor and simplicity of style. It was the fundamental mark of the classical ideal. Because of the influence of the Jansenism, the author emphasized the uncontrollable passion and predetermination of the hopes of people. Phaedra was affected by gods with love to her stepson. The author describes it as madness and justifies her by this fact. "Have I lost my senses? What said I? And where am I? Whither stray Vain wishes? Ah! The gods have made me mad" (Racine). Therefore, her guilt has been washed away not so yet love to a stepson is a great shame for those ancient people and for Racine's contemporaries.

Also, due to the influence of the Jansenism, more actions are given to the women and they are much fully described than the men. In order to make the tragedy more dynamic, the author used epic figures: retrospective stories about the Theseus's deeds, death of the son of the Amazon. Strength and weakness of the people, strong knowledge of standards of morality, which people violate by the influence of passion, lead to apogee in the "Phaedra". All these features hot up the interest of the audience to the events described in the tragedy.


In the result of the analysis of styles, it can be said that the style and narration of the "Stranger" by Albert Camus is adequate to the needs of an audience because reading of highly stylistically colored literature was not considered to be the best type of prose for people who suffered in the course of WWII. Therefore, the choice of such style is justified completely. The target audience of the novel had the possibility to easily understand the plot of the novel. Despite the special ambiguity that the author put in the narration, the sense can be understood without any problems. Ambiguity is made by means of creation of the total image of the alienated person. At the same time, his activity seems to be aimed at posing such a person: for instance, at the end of the story, the character was asked to demonstrate his execution and let other people hate him. "all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration" (Camus). One can think that the main character pretended to be such a person, but the author had not explained the reason for its using. Nevertheless, the topic and the idea are fully described through the thoughts and actions of the main character.


There are some drawbacks in this style: there is no idea that can impel someone to do something. According to the idea of the novel, this novel is anti-educational and shows the way of thinking and living that is not appropriate in the society. Such people cannot exist. However, the main character is kind is intended to strike readers with his strangeness. He is free to do what he wants, but in the result, he was punished for it. Such behavior is unacceptable in the society. The idea is not adequate for people to follow. However, "Odyssey" by Homer and "Phaedra" by Racine is aimed simply telling the story and entertaining readers. It is worth noting that "Phaedra" is written to condemn the vice of dirty passion. The structure and style components are not as developed as they in "The Stranger" by Camus. Therefore, there are shortcomings in all styles and the choice of the most effective is hard to take due to the peculiarities of the different ages and audience. So, all works have been written to meet requirements of their contemporaries. The work of Albert Camus is relevant even at the present time.

Works cited

  1. The stranger. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.
  2. Phèdre. English. gutenberg.org, 1999. eBook. //www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1977.
  3. The Odyssey. London: Penguin Books, 1991. Print.
Related essays
  • Literature Essay
  • History essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • Application Essay