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Existentialism is a philosophical movement which emphasizes on individual existence,


freedom, and choices (http://www.thecry.com/existentialism/). n individual has the ri!ht to
chose what he wants and has to deal with the conse"uences of his actions. #xistentialism came
up in philosophy in the first half of the 1$
th
century. %here are many ideals of #xistentialism that
ma&es it a complicated topic to discuss. %he main idea is that man ma&es himself and his own
world and he has his choices, freedom and an!st (thecry.com). %here are many people that had
contri'uted to #xistentialism such as (eide!!er, )artre, *riedrich +ietzsche, ,amus, and
-ier&e!aard.
#xistentialism is actually a #uropean philosophy. .t ori!inated in the 1$
th
century 'y
-ier&e!aard who accepts the a'surd, the idea that there is no other meanin! 'eyond the o'vious.
fter //0, many people started "uestionin! individualism and freedom. .t 'ecame a cultural
movement than&s to 1ean23aul )artre, l'ert ,amus, and 4artin (eide!!ar who were the leaders
of this philosophy in the early 05
th
century. ,amus and )artre were influence 'y (eide!!ar.
,amus is more of a man that 'elieves that there is hope in the world while )artre 'elieves that
there is no hope and is more of a communist. (eide!!ar6s influence started to spread more in
*rance in the mid2 05
th
century. 7iterature, films, and poems emer!ed with the existentialism
ideals that made people thin& a'out the world around them and their existence.
-ier&e!aard is &nown as the father of #xistentialism. (e was a deep 'eliever in 8od and
,hristianity. (e states, 9:ou do not really meet the ,reator until death yet suicide is not an
option or everyone would try it. *reedom is a punishment, not a reward, yet man&ind relishes
this freedom (http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/&ier&e!aard.shtml). )uicide is the easy way out
of life and this ma&es it unworthy to meet 8od. *reedom is not a reward 'ecause people tend to
a'use their freedom to do what they want. %he need to do what a person desires leads to doin!
the wron! thin!. .t is accurate that the even a !ood decision has some conse"uences
(tameri.com). -ier&e!aard so ac&nowled!es the fact that every person should find his or her own
spiritual path. (e realized that he is faithful to 8od 'y choice not 'y lo!ic
(http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/&ier&e!aard.shtml).
l'ert ,amus is a writer 'ut there is a 'i! de'ate on his status. .s he an existentialist or an
a'surdist; (e was involved in the ,ommunist 3arty 'ut he !ot out and 'ecame a socialist. (e
wrote for newspapers a'out the /ar. <urin! /orld /ar 0, he met 1ean 3aul )artre and then was
driven apart due to political differences. ,amus was a socialist while )artre was more into
communism (http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/camus.shtml). ,amus 'elieved that life was
a'surd, valua'le, and worth defendin! (http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/camus.shtml).(e
'ecame an activist, playwri!ht, and a =ournalist. (is ma=or wor&s include %he )tran!er, 9%he
4yth of )isyphus, and ,ali!ula.
1ean 3aul )artre is more of a ,ommunist and he 'elieves that there is no hope in life.
)artre seems li&e a prideful fi!ure and is at home when he is writin! in what he 'elieves in
(http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/sartre.shtml). (is personality my 'e 'ecause he is self2
a'sor'ed 'y his own intellect. (is childhood had 'een in some ways tra!ic. (is father had died
'efore he turned one year old and his mother dressed him as a !irl. %he reason for this was that
he was unattractive (http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/sartre.shtml). (e had many friends that he
was close to 'ut lost a !reat friendship due to his support of the )oviet >nion. )artre philosophy
was that man ma&es himself. (e has the a'ility to ma&e himself into somethin! in the world. +o
one else has an impact on his identity. 9.n the a'sence of a ,reator, individuals feel a'andoned,
with a sense of an!er at the universe (http://www.tameri.com/ csw/exist/sartre.shtml). (e wrote
Nausea and The Transcendence of the Ego.
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*riedrich +ietzsche was one of the misunderstood fi!ures 'ecause he is involved in
+azism. (is ideals involve the fact that must ta&e part in the world and he must live life fully to
reach his fullest potential (http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/nietzsche.shtml). /hat ma&es
+ietzsche different is that he attac&s ,hristianity. ?ne of his famous statements is 98od is <ead
(http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/nietzsche.shtml). 8od is not here so therefore, there is no
value in reli!ion and there is nothin! to live for. 4an is responsi'le for himself and 8od does not
exist and therefore, life is valua'le only as we live it.
(eide!!er 'elieved in the ideal that #xistentialism is the 9existence itself, when we face
our contin!ence, and the a'surdity of our acts and choices, it is that throu!h which fear 'ecomes
possi'le (thecry.com). *ear is possi'le. (eide!!er was into the +azis movement and 'elieved
that evil men do have some !ood "ualities and those who are !ood do have some 'ad "ualities.
(eide!!er had )artre as one of his students 'ut this ended in a 'ad way. (eide!!er ended up
=oinin! the +azis 3arty and he is lin&ed to (itler. (e 'elieves that if somethin! has no meanin!,
it does not have existence. 9(eide!!er 'elieved the existence of a physical 'ody preceded the
essence of self (http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/heide!!er.shtml). .f somethin! is not there, is
it possi'le for it to exist; person sees somethin! and it does exist. .f it is not there, 'ut it does
exist, does it have existence; .t is a &nown fact that man can create somethin! and then exist.
4an is ma&in! somethin! exist 'ecause he is creatin! somethin! 'efore it is a physical o'=ect.
%he world is a complicated place and sometimes man must ta&e care of himself 'efore he can put
himself into the world. person must accept the fact that there is death. <eath is near and it is
not avoida'le. 1ust as death cannot 'e avoided, neither is !uilt. t some point, man is !uilty of
somethin!. (e can fail in a plan and feel !uilty that his failure to succeed may have an impact on
someone. 4an6s decisions have an impact on someone and man must ta&e the conse"uences of
his actions. 7astly, man has to desire life. (e must live life fully each day. (e has the power to
rise a'ove his 'ein! (http: //www.tameri.com/csw/exist/heide!!er. shtml). #xistentialists are
usually lin&ed to (eide!!er 'ecause of his ideas of death and existence.
%here are literary wor&s that portray #xistentialism such as 9%he 4etamorphosis, %he
)tran!er, and 9%he 4yth of )isyphus. 9%he 4etamorphosis starts with )amsa wa&in! up as a
insect. )amsa is still optimistic in the 'e!innin! of the novel 'ut he is still a 'u!. s the novel
!oes on, he 'ecomes more 'u!2li&e. )amsa dies after starvin! himself and tryin! to free his
family from the responsi'ility of ta&in! care of him. -af&a is some times compared to )amsa
'ecause he is writin! a'out his life. )artre6s idea that man is hopeless comes into this novel.
)amsa is not hopeless in the 'e!innin! 'ut as the novel ends he is 'ecause he will never 'e
)amsa a!ain. (e has chan!ed so much that he has accepted the a'surdity that he is now a 'u!
and move on. .n %he )tran!er, 4eursault committed a crime. (e murdered an ra'. <urin! his
"uestionin!, he does not lie. (e is seen as a mindless man with a routine. 9. was !oin! 'ac& to
wor&, and that, really nothin! had chan!ed (,amus 0@). (e does not feel emotions easily and
this is seen as a'normal. (e does not lie 'ecause he is 'ein! himself. (e is at peace with the
person he is. (e has committed a crime and is ta&in! the conse"uence for his action. l'ert
,amus shows that 4eursault is not a!ainst 8od 'ut there is still the idea that he does exist.
4eursault states 9. said noA(e said it was impossi'leB all men 'elieved in 8od, even those who
turned their 'ac&s on him. %hat was his 'elief, and if he were ever to dou't it, his life would
'ecome meanin!less9 (,amus C$). 4eursault is 'ein! truthful 'ecause this is what he 'elieves
and he is not !oin! to deny his own person =ust to a!ree with someone. %he examinin!
ma!istrate does 'elieve in 8od 'ecause to not 'elieve in 8od is the loss of value and a
meanin!less life. 9%he 4yth of )isyphus ma&es )isyphus a hero. (e &nows his fate. (e &nows
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the he will forever 'e pushin! a roc& up the hill until somethin! stops him 'ut unfortunately
nothin! will. 9?ne sees merely the whole effort of a 'ody strainin! to raise the hu!e stone
(,amus). )isyphus is conscious of his fate and this leads to him acceptin! that his fate is
&nown. (e can chan!e his fate 'ecause he has the power. (e is a hero 'ecause every time that he
pushes the roc& to the top of the hill, he accomplishes somethin!. (e is a stron!er man 'ecause is
still experiencin! life rather than =ust committin! suicide. .n comparison to 9%he 4yth of
)isyphus and 9%he 4etamorphosis )isyphus is a stron!er character than )amsa. )isyphus
accepts his fate and learns to live a life that is worth experiencin! 'ecause he is !ettin! stron!er
every time he reaches the top of the hill. )amsa on the other hand is wea&er 'ecause he does not
ma&e an effort to &eep livin!. (e &nows his fate and he thin&s that he should die instead of livin!
each day as a 'u!.