An interpretation of Act II, of The Just, by Camus

N. Lygeros

Translated from the Greek by Athena Kehagias




The significance of this act is not to be found in the aesthetic quality, but in its actual idea. The later, contitutes the pylon of choice by Camus and the cornerstone of his works. A project, which is a pretext for a single and unique concept to climb its way to stage : the human consciousness.

Albert Camus is not moved by the power of the man who lives in the historical physiognomy of Kaliayev, but by the fragility of his heart.

Indeed, the unsuccessful act is not a defeat for the revolutionary, but a conquest of conscience of the man who will save the team. It's his humanism, and it alone, which is capable of recognizing the substance of an act, even if it is extreme, even if it is an act of terrorism. His refusal to kill the innocent suggests an hyper-political moral rule and therefore a humane one.

In this act, we see the battle between the power of an unhappy couple, as Nicolas Gogol would say, prompted by Kaliayev and Dora, and the strength of the flame of Stepan, but not that alone. It's also regarding the symbolic conflict between the humane anarchism and nihilism.

Against Stepan's criticism, Dora is capable to fight alone .
She defends Yanek due to adoration initially, without a thought, and later on after consideration, for the purpose.
And is this support of Dora, multiple and steadfast, which allows Kaliayev to create a protective wall against Stepan, the destroyer.
It consequently acts, as the Russian people did, who in order to resist to the oppression and to the invader, they burned down the land, their own land, in order to protect it.

After the manipulation of the fire, comes the difficult climb to the top, which is represented by the ideology of Stepan. And the more it's defended with intensity and vigor by Stepan, the more the couple is forced to exceed its nature and its symbolism, in order to raise to the peak of the scope.

With this internal and innate battle, which is not a defeat but a challenge, the Kaliayev-Dora couple comes through, mature and stronger.
Because, using Stepan's ideological support in order not to absolutely exceed it, it's developed, so as to reach through the responsibility, to the idea of Camus re: the notion of the human. An idea that meets with this of his teacher's Fyodor Dostoïevsky: We are responsible for all, before all.







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