Department

Political Science

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

This study addresses a gap in scholarly research on Albert Camus, first by exploring the place of his theater within his corpus. It divides Camus’s corpus into a set of three mythopoeic cycles: an absurd cycle focused on the Myth of Sisyphus, a cycle on revolt centered on the Myth of Prometheus, and a cycle on judgment centered on the Greek goddess Nemesis. This structure is used to examine how his Camus’s original plays (Caligula, The Misunderstanding, State of Siege, and The Just Assassins) and dramatic adaptations of the works of William Faulkner (Requiem for a Nun) and Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Possessed) fit thematically within these cycles and with his other nonfiction works produced during each period.

Beyond explaining how the plays relate to the rest of his corpus, this study, second, portrays the importance of Camus’s theater to his thought by using the notion of sophrosyne as a conceptual approach to what Camus means by the terms “lucidity,” “limits,” and “measuredness.” The individual who possesses the quality of sophrosyne possesses the moral sanity to know the good to be chosen and the evil to be avoided. One who possesses the moral clarity of sophrosyne will engage the world in an authentic fashion, fully embracing the limited human capacity to understand and change the world.

Committee Chair

Eubanks, Cecil

Available for download on Saturday, May 11, 2024

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