The Stranger Characters and Analysis
The main character, Meursualt appears utterly detached from other people. He experiences life as a spectator. His emotional indifference makes the stranger in the story. He seems to have no reaction to the death of his mother. His relationships with friends and with a woman who loves him have no emotional depth. He does not accept any of the societal demands as to how he is supposed to exist in the world and in life. After he kills the Arab for no apparent reason, the focus shifts from the crime to the kind of person he appears to be.
One of Meursault’s former co-workers. Marie and Meursault begin their relationship the day after his mother’s funeral. She is young and pretty. She seems to be in love with him. Yet Meursault appears to like her only for her physical appearance. He shows no real feeling for her. Even still, Marie is oddly devoted to him, and she remains supportive even during his trial.
Meursault’s neighbor and a local pimp. Raymond is a violent and ugly man. He beats his mistress when he believes she is cheating on him. He manages to engage Meursault in helping him get revenge on her and on her brother, who had beat him up for hurting his mistress. It is Raymond who initiates the fight with the two Arabs at the beach which leads to Meursault murdering one of them.
She is significant primarily in her absence. The book opens by stating that she has died. Her death and Meursault’s lack of feeling for her loss become central features for the court to vilify him. Meursault’s mother figures in the novel and the central piece of evidence that renders him a stranger to all. Toward the end of the novel, Meursault comes to the conclusion that his mother must have accepted a meaningless existence in the same way that he does.
In Meursault’s final days in prison, he is regularly visited by a priest who asks him to accept God and renounce his atheism. Meursault reacts to him with anger at first. But through his interactions with the priest, Meursault comes to accept that all existence is meaningless. With this, he accepts his fate and finds some measure of comfort.