The Myth of Sisyphus

by

Albert Camus

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The Conqueror Character Analysis

The conqueror is Albert Camus’ third example of an “absurd man.” That said, he is not so much a conqueror as a general soldier/fighter—he engages in warfare but not necessarily in order to rule over new territory. Camus sees the conqueror as incorporating the absurd because he lives for the moment, motivated by his heightened sense of his possible death. This gives life greater vivacity and intensifies “fraternity” and “friendship” among men. It’s worth noting that, at the time of writing The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus was part of the French Resistance in World War Two. Violent conflict was therefore very much a real threat, perhaps creating the kind of conditions which Camus ascribes to the conqueror. Here, the conqueror has little animosity towards an “enemy,” and is more concerned with making a mark on history. That said, he is not deluded into thinking that this impact on history has any greater meaning outside of itself.

The Conqueror Quotes in The Myth of Sisyphus

The The Myth of Sisyphus quotes below are all either spoken by The Conqueror or refer to The Conqueror. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Absurdism and Meaning Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Myth of Sisyphus published in 1991.
8. Conquest Quotes

“There is but one luxury for them—that of human relations. How can one fail to realize that in this vulnerable universe everything that is human and solely human assumes a more vivid meaning? Taut faces, threatened fraternity, such strong and chaste friendship among men—these are the true riches because they are transitory.”

Related Characters: The Conqueror (speaker), Albert Camus
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:

Let me repeat that these images do not propose moral codes and involve no judgments: they are sketches. They merely represent a style of life. The lover, the actor, or the adventurer plays the absurd. But equally well, if he wishes, the chaste man, the civil servant, or the president of the Republic. It is enough to know and to mask nothing.

Related Characters: Albert Camus (speaker), Don Juan, The Actor, The Conqueror
Page Number: 90-91
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Conqueror Character Timeline in The Myth of Sisyphus

The timeline below shows where the character The Conqueror appears in The Myth of Sisyphus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
8. The Absurd Man: Conquest
Absurdism and Meaning Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
In this section, Camus holds up the conqueror as an example of the absurd life. At some point in his life, says Camus,... (full context)
Absurdism and Meaning Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
The conqueror knows that his actions are ultimately futile but chooses to do them anyway in full... (full context)
Absurdism and Meaning Theme Icon
The Church opposes the conqueror, just as it did the actor. Conquerors reject any notion of the eternal—to the conqueror,... (full context)
Absurdism and Meaning Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
Camus concludes this section by reminding the reader that Don Juan, the actor and the conqueror are just sketches of a “style of life” that “plays the absurd.” He insists that... (full context)