Truth is an important theme in both Oedipus and the Outsider as it changes the fate for both of the characters. I will talk about how the characters find out about the truth. I will also talk about how this theme is presented to us similarly in both the play and the text, as both the characters stick to the truth of their crimes which leads to both their downfalls. As Oedipus and Meursault based in different settings, this contributes to how the truth is presented.
In the play Oedipus, he seeks to find out the truth as he believes that he can help the people of Thebes “I’ll bring it all to light myself” later on even when everyone is begging him not to seek the truth he says “I must know it all, must see the truth at last” Although whatever Oedipus is doing is for the well being of Thebes this leads to his downfall as he himself is the cause of the plague. The realization of the truth is a turning point in the play as this changes his life. Meursault does not intentionally kill the Arab as his physical needs over powers his ability to think.
Meursaults realizes that he has murdered “it was like giving four sharp knocks at the door of unhappiness. ” The simile in the quote also foreshadows that unhappiness is going to be a part of his life because he killed the Arab. Meursault is a simple and straightforward character and he believes in only telling the truth, this therefore changes his future. Despite the fact that Oedipus and Meursault have different social status, there is a similarity on how they react once they find out the truth; both the characters are honest about the crime they have committed.
Despite Oedipus being the King of Thebes he keeps his word that “I curse myself as well” and once he comes to know the truth he realizes that he is responsible so he blinds himself and exiles himself from Thebes. Meursault being an ordinary man is very straightforward and therefore tells the truth that he killed the Arab. Meursault decided to “die for the truth” instead of covering up for what had happened on the day. Meursault could have easily defended himself to lessen his punishment but his simplicity made him stick to his beliefs.
As Oedipus and Meursault are written in different settings, the reactions of the people towards their crime differ however their punishment they ultimately get is the same. Although the theme of truth plays an important part it is presented to us differently in both Oedipus and The Outsider. As Oedipus is the King he has the highest authority, however he does have a great responsibility. The people of Thebes “pray to you… we do rate you first of men” when Oedipus finds out that he is the cause of the curse he punishes himself instead of waiting to be punished by the people.
Meursault is an ordinary man who has to justify his crime in court, “I hadn’t intended to kill the Arab…it was because of the Sun. ” Although Meursault was being honest about the accident the people around him wanted to punish him because he is different as he does not follow society’s norms. As Meursault was insensitive at his mother’s funeral, the defense lawyer also portrays him as a monster which made to the judge giving him death sentence instead of few years in jail. In conclusion the theme truth connects Oedipus and the outsider as it changes both of their lives. Even though the two were honest they were punished severely.