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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 11, 1985

Daniel Shaw
Pages 209-223

Absurdity and Suicide
A Reexamination

Camus’ central thesis in The Myth of Sisyphus is that suicide is not the proper response to, nor is it the solution of, the problem of absurdity. Yet many of his literary protagonists either commit suicide or are self-destructive in other ways. I argue that the protagonists that best live up to the characteristics of the absurd man that Camus outlines in the Myth uniformly either commit suicide or consent to their destruction by behaving in such a manner as to invite death. It is my contention that this raises serious questions abuut the validity of Camus’ arguments that suicide is not the proper response to the recognition that life is absurd.

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