The Priest(Kafka Vs Camus)

Word Count: 1092The Outsider, written by Albert Camus, and The Trial, written by Franz
Kafka, are two books that have been critically acclaimed since the time
that they were published. There are critics that claim that The
Outsider is a dull book, and is not even a read-worthy book. Other
people claim that it shows us how society actually acts upon people who
do not want to be like the rest of society. The Trial falls under the
same kind of criticism; but both books, although written by different
writers in a different epoque, fall under the same kind of genre:
Imprisoned Lives. In both The Outsider and The Trial there are many
people who influence the protagonists in a positive and in a negative
way, but none of those characters are as important as the priest. The
priest, being of the same profession in both books and trying to
accomplish the same kind of tasks, have a totally different effect on
the two protagonists. In The Outsider the priest changes the whole
attitude that Meursault has to life, whereas in The Trial the priest
tells Joseph K. how his life actually is.


“Why do you refuse to see me?” This question was asked by the priest
and was meant for Meursault. Normally, if a person is convicted to
death, he will see a priest before the sentence is executed. Meursault
did not do that. He profusely refused to see the priest and why should
he? He “did not believe in god.” Meursault did not care, as he did not
care if his mother died, or if someone proposed marriage to him. This
of course went totally against the rules and ethics of society, which
cannot permit such kind of behaviour. But why does Camus characterize
Meursault like that? Why did he create such kind of an outsider to
society? Camus created such an outsider because he wanted to show
people how life actually is. Society does not accept people who do not
bend the truth a little and lie. Society wants to make life as easy as
can be, making up lies so that everything can run smoothly because truth
can hurt sometimes, and Camus knows that. Camus implements the priest
not just as another character in the novel, but as a person who wants to
tell Meursault how society expects him to behave. Meursault did not
want to know how he has to act to make the society happy, as a matter of
fact, the priest was “beginning to annoy” him. Meursault was not even
following what the priest said but rather gazed out of the cell into the
sky.
Camus wants to show us actually how uninterested Meursault is in the
priest. But all this is about to change because Camus adds an
unexpected twist. The priest mentions how even the hardest of criminals
stare at something at one point in their life and imagine a divine face
in it. Meursault did not see the face of Jesus Christ in it, but he saw
the face of Marie, the girl who proposed the marriage to him. But this
was the turning life in Meursaults life. All of a sudden he starts to
care about things and take some interest in things, and that explains
the outrage he suddenly got against the priest. Meursault knows that he
his going to die, and he cannot accept that. His whole attitude all of
a sudden changed. Camus shows us that a person cannot go against
society and that society and the majority, be it good or bad, will
always win.

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Kafkas priest however was different. He did not tell to change Joseph
K.s life but rather told Joseph K. how his life is and how unjust
society actually is. The setting that Kafka creates is pretty
phenomenal.The cathedral is dark and gloomy, only lighted by some oil
lamps which have a small illumination radius. “It is a rainy day”,
which gives it an even more sad and depressing feeling. As time passes
by, the inside of the cathedral gets darker and darker, which creates a
sort of evil foreshadowing of what will happen at the end of the book.
Then the priest comes to the altar, which is humorous because there will
be no sermon right now. It is rainy, a weekday and nobody showed up at
the church. But that is the illusion Kafka wants to create. The priest
is not there to preach, he is there to talk to Joseph K. During the
talk the priest has with Joseph K., Kafka uses the analogy with the
doorman.
But why did Kafka use this? Kafka used this analogy because he wanted
to show us how unjust and corrupt the court and justice system actually
is. Yes, the government states that the law is there so everybody can
benefit from it; “justice is there for everybody” and that anybody can
access it with no difficulty. But later Kafka writes that everything is
accessible to man, except the law. “The law is closed to him”, which
means there will be no justice because the law cannot be accessed, and
without the law there cannot be any justice. Through this scene Kafka
also foreshadows that Joseph K. has been played the fool, and that the
court is actually unjust and that he was convicted unjustly. Now,
Joseph K. did not know this. He thought that everything was well, and
that his appeal has already been processed and that he would be free in
a few days. But that is why Kafka put in the priest, so that he can
clarify to Joseph K. how and in what situation the life of Joseph K.

actually stands.


Both books make profound impact on the readers; some reject the novels
and regard them as absolute trash because they do not want to accept
that society actually is how the two authors, Albert Camus and Franz
Kafka, portray them to be. They both carry a lot of hidden messages and
meanings and how the authors actually feel about the society they live
in. They criticize society because the society is corrupt and unjust,
and that is what the authors wanted us readers to find out ourselves
because one person alone cannot make any changes. It has to be many
persons, perhaps even a whole society. Many critics have criticized
these books, trying to bring down their popularity because they
themselves have been a part of the corrupt and unjust society and they
do not want to admit that they belong to one of these societies. These
books portray the truth of what kind of world we live in today and that
we should think about ourselves and what our ethics in life actually
are.