The Stranger

The Prosecutor Character Analysis

Determined to portray Meursault as a cold-blooded, premeditating murderer and soulless monster unfit for society, the prosecutor builds his case around Meursault's insensitive attitude towards his mother, evidence that shouldn't properly be relevant. Still, the prosecutor is passionate, articulate, and convincing. Even Meursault notes that he is a talented lawyer.

The Prosecutor Quotes in The Stranger

The The Stranger quotes below are all either spoken by The Prosecutor or refer to The Prosecutor. 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:
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Stranger published in 1989.
Book 2, Chapter 4 Quotes

But were their two speeches so different after all? My lawyer raised his arms and pleaded guilty, but with an explanation. The prosecutor waved his hands and proclaimed my guilt, but without an explanation…In a way, they seemed to be arguing the case as if it had nothing to do with me…There were times when I felt like breaking in on all of them and saying, "Wait a minute! Who's the accused here? Being the accused counts for something. And I have something to say!" But on second thought, I didn't have anything to say.

Related Characters: Meursault (speaker), The Prosecutor, The Defense Lawyer
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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[The prosecutor] said that he had peered into [my soul] and that he had found nothing, gentlemen of the jury. He said the truth was that I didn't have a soul and that nothing human, not one of the moral principles that govern men's hearts, was within my reach. "Of course," he added, "we cannot blame him for this. We cannot complain that he lacks what it was not in his power to acquire. But here in this court the wholly negative virtue of tolerance must give way to the sterner but loftier virtue of justice. Especially when the emptiness of a man's heart becomes, as we find it has in this man, an abyss threatening to swallow up society.

Related Characters: Meursault (speaker), The Prosecutor (speaker)
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserun

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The Prosecutor Character Timeline in The Stranger

The timeline below shows where the character The Prosecutor appears in The Stranger. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2, Chapter 3
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
...a home, whether it had been "hard." Meursault says no and, in response to the prosecutor asking if he'd intended to kill the Arab, says, no, "it just happened that way." (full context)
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Importance of Physical Experience Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
After lunch, the court reconvenes and the prosecutor calls witnesses. The director and caretaker each attest to Meursault's "calm" at Maman's funeral, how... (full context)
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
When the prosecutor acts triumphant in response to the director's testimony, Meursault thinks, "for the first time in... (full context)
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
After Marie is questioned by Meursault's lawyer, the prosecutor questions Marie. He gets her to describe her date with Meursault the day after his... (full context)
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
...for burying his mother or for killing a man?'" and, though the court laughs, the prosecutor sobers them by insisting on the "profound, fundamental, and tragic relationship" between the funeral and... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 4
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
...about my crime." Still, he can see little difference between his lawyer's speech and the prosecutor's: the former proclaims guilt with an explanation while the latter proclaims guilt without one. They... (full context)
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Relationships Theme Icon
The prosecutor attempts to show that Meursault's crime was "premeditated," relying on "the blinding clarity of the... (full context)
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
The prosecutor talks about Meursault's soul, or lack thereof. He says it isn't Meursault's own fault he... (full context)
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Importance of Physical Experience Theme Icon
Given a chance to add onto the prosecutor's speech, Meursault, dizzy in the heat, claims he'd "never intended to kill the Arab," then... (full context)
Meaninglessness of Life and the Absurd Theme Icon
Chance and Interchangeability Theme Icon
Indifference and Passivity Theme Icon
Importance of Physical Experience Theme Icon
...he's told it's standard procedure. He finds his lawyer ridiculous, much less talented than the prosecutor. His lawyer also discusses Meursault's soul (though positively) but he doesn't mention the funeral, which... (full context)