Albert Camus and Bohemian Rhapsody Comparison
Albert Camus was one of the most renowned authors during the early twentieth century. With writings such as The Stranger, and The Plague, Camus has struck the world of literature with amazing works that are analyzed to a great extent. This amazing success was not just handed to Camus on a silver platter however; Albert endured many hard times and was often encumbered with great illness in his short life. These hardships that Camus had to face, emphasized in his writings and literature. Camus’ work is very closely related to songs written and sung by a band named Queen. Queen’s song, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, is one of few songs, that correlate to Albert Camus views on the Absurd, which consist of simplifying the point of philosophy to mean life, a reasoning that the world, in general, is not a reasonable place, and realizing the consequences to believing in the absurd.
Albert Camus wrote a numerous amount inspiring novels/essays and gained success, starting at the young age of seventeen, when Camus decided to become a writer. By 1932, he was writing articles for magazines. Albert entered the University of Algiers on scholarships the same year (Sprintzen). As an art critic, Camus wrote articles for a newspaper in 1934. In the same year he married Simon Hie who was wealthy but was plagued with a drug addiction.
This marriage only lasted for about two years. (Sprintzen) After earning a degree in 1935, Camus wrote his thesis “Christian Metaphysics and Neo-Platonism”. On December 3, 1940, Albert Camus married for the second time to Francine Fautre (Wachtel).After all of this success, some fabulous works followed. Some of his novels include The Stranger, The Myth of Sisyphus, and The Plague. With the money he made from the publishing of The Plague, he paid the University of Algiers back fifteenfold. He also wrote many books of essays including L’Evers et l’endroit, Noces, and Nuptials. All of these works led to his greatest achievement; he was awarded the Nobel Prize in October 1957, “for his important literary works which shed light on the problems today facing the human conscience.” (Nobelprize.org).
Albert Camus had really hanged the lives of many people for works in literature as stated by the Nobel Prize Committee. According to Camus the point of philosophy is life: “The preceding merely defines a way of thinking. But the point is to live” (Camus). Others say that philosophy is theorization about the universe and the difference between ideas of a personal view and views of others that make simple things in life complicated. e.g. beauty, wealth, etc.(Ramsland). Camus’ life and work were dominated by the juxtaposition of an unstoppable will towards happiness and justice on one hand and the indifference and hostility of the world on the other hand. This correlation constitutes the absurd. In Bohemian Rhapsody it was often said, “nothing really matters” (Queen). And how there is “no escape from reality”(Queen).
Which is the core of what the Absurd truly is. The absurd is a conflict between our expectations and reality. Particularly, it is the confrontation between our longing for order, meaning, and clarity and the chaos, confusion, and irrationality of the world; between the human longing for happiness and the evil in the world. “The world in itself is not reasonable, that is all that can be said. But what is absurd is the confrontation of this irrational and the wild longing for clarity whose call echoes in the human heart.” (Camus). Bohemian Rhapsody is a song written by Queen on October 31, 1975; the lyrics to this song are very similar to the work Albert Camus had written of describing the absurd and a man’s fate and faith after killing someone quite possibly himself. This song was released around the time when many people were unsure of their lives.
This song was more mournful and depressing with the rhythmic sounds. Revolt is a refusal to accept the absurd without trying to escape it and without renouncing either the world or our desire for happiness and order. Much the way Queen and many other bands during the time period did by creating rock music. Freedom; In a world devoid of external significance and meaning, man is free to create his own happiness. The loss of external values is also liberation from our dependence on them.
The man speaking in Bohemian Rhapsody talks about feeling liberated and free after he has left “real life”. Passion; Recognizing and living with the absurd entail a passionate consciousness of each moment of experience. What we lose in quality of experience derived from external values we gain in quantity of consciousness and passion derived from our awareness and rejection of the absurd.
The existentialism of Albert Camus is based on his view of life as the Absurd. This sense of the Absurd derives from the realization that man is destined to die, as if being punished for a crime he never committed. There is no reprieve, and this makes life absurd (Peyre). There is no God in Camus’s conception, and those who hope for an afterlife are thus to be disappointed. Camus understood that the fact that there is no God also means that there is no meaning or purpose to life outside of living life to the fullest, and that there is a destined end.
The one saving grace in the world seems to be the fact that while there is no God on which man can depend, man can live as if he can depend on his fellow man, even though he and they will all die (Sprintzen). This is another absurdity, but it is based on the fact that the individual has come to understand the absurdity of life and that this realization liberates him. The individual faces death, knowing that he will lose, but acting as if his life ultimately does matter. The works of Albert Camus fall into three categories, aside from his work as a journalist: literary, political, and philosophical. This is an arbitrary division, since he generally mixes these elements in his work and his thought in some degree. An examination of his life and his work will show the evolution of his philosophical thought and how he expressed his conceptions to the world.
The word “absurd” is very weird in the sense that there is no clear definition for the term. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary has a definition of “absurd” as “having no rational or orderly relationship to human life: meaningless, also: lacking order or value.” Many existential philosophers have defined it in their own manner. Soren Kierkegarrd, a Dutch philosopher from the 1800’s, defined absurd as “that quality of Christian faith which runs counter to all reasonable human expectation” (Woelfel 40). Jean-Paul Sartre a post-WW II French philosopher, felt that absurd was “the sheer contingency or ‘thereness’ or gratuitousness of the world” (Woelfel 41).
Both of these definitions are hard to interpret and for the most part are not how Camus viewed the word absurd. Camus gives his interpretation of absurd in his book The Myth of Sisyphus, which is the point at which man realizes that all the struggles that we put forth in a repeated daily cycle are in all actuality completely meaningless (Woelfel 44). Some people may believe that Bohemian Rhapsody does not relate to Albert Camus’ ideas on The Absurd because the song focuses more on a man committing suicide and does not express the beliefs of Albert Camus well.
This counterclaim is supported by the quote from Albert Camus himself stating, “I regret the continued reference to myself as a “philosopher of the absurd” as it is an oxymoron to what the true idealism of the absurd is about” (Scherr). The counterargument would be false because the man that is telling the story through song is often questioning whether or not life is meaningful and if we live in a “real” life, and questioning life is part of the base of the Absurd along with suicide being morally questioned as to right or wrong. Much the way the narrator of the song is describing his tale of killing a man that could very well be himself as he says he pains for himself (Queen).
Albert Camus’ theories on the absurd are similar to motives and explanation of life and post-life described in the song by rock band Queen entitled Bohemian Rhapsody. Albert Camus’ life had faced many difficulties and it was surprising when he died at a young age in his mid-40’s. Camus work on the absurd and reasoning the meaning and simplicity of life through literature has changed the world’s perspective of the past-life.
Albert Camus’ words are still upheld today as many people have reread and retranslated Camus’ words over and over again. The world is a better place now considering all the things Albert has taught about the absurd.