When taking various factors into consideration, it would appear that the whole court case is extremely superficial. The people in the court room are described as the ‘audience’ which at first sight seems inappropriate since we are reading about a murder case. This type of case is clearly not supposed to provide any form of entertainment whatsoever, however, ‘audience’ implies the opposite. Everyone involved in the hearing, excluding Meursault, is presented in the passage by playing a role.
Take, for example the descriptions of the lawyer’s behaviour: “avocat s’i?? crier, pour finir,” and “l’avocat s’est assis d’un air puisi. ” This language suggests that Meursault’s lawyer has been performing in a play rather than acting for his client in a real life situation. Meursault has no part in this legal ‘performance’. When people speak to him and shake his lawyer’s hand, Meursault replies, but without sincerity. It is plain to see from this passage that he does not voice his own opinions. The legal system speaks for him.
He defends this at one point by saying, ‘J’etais trop fatigue,’ proving to the reader once more that he is more interested in his physical self than what is going on around him. He’s living in a dream world and is utterly bored of the insincere system of the legal institution. The paragraphs above have led me to criticise the sincerity of the legal system as Meursault describes it. If the trial has parallel lines to a theatre-play, it would be fitting to suggest that there is a script which would mean that the case is pre-determined.
When someone exclaims, “Magnifique, mon cher” to the lawyer, it is made prominent that what is important is not being right or wrong, it is just winning that is essential. This is why the participants put on a performance, a falsity, to cover up something that is wrong in actuality. From the above evidence, Meursault’s role in the trial has become clearer than before. Through Camus’ clever use of emotive language and punctuation, the reader is instantly plunged into the world that is Meursault’s, where everything seems dead-ended and depressing.
Furthermore, when the courtroom is compared with a theatre, the reader can instantly see how isolated Meursault is from the rest of the world, and how false and dishonest everyone else seems in comparison to him. In the text, there are several examples of Meursault’s refusal to feign emotions he does not feel, even thought his life would undoubtedly be easier if he did, and this sense of being true to himself is brought out in this passage.