The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What temptation does Camus suggest is hardest to overcome?

2. Why did the gods view Sisyphus' punishment as particularly dreadful?

3. Who was Adrienne Lecouvreur?

4. What sacrifice does Loyola say God rejoices in?

5. What would be a synonym for the phrase 'fecund rumination' (p. 93 of the Penguin Edition)?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does humanity need to do in order to understand the world?

2. According to Camus, what must we take into consideration when reading the works of Franz Kafka?

3. What is The Trial about?

4. How does Camus view the novel as an artistic endeavor?

5. What, for humanity, are the consequences of living in a world stripped of illusion?

6. What is Camus' attitude to Galileo?

7. What important feature of Dostoevsky's work does Camus explore in the section entitled 'Kirilov'?

8. What does Camus say is tiresome about the human heart (p. 115 of the Penguin edition)?

9. What technique of Kafka's does Camus posit as the reason for the unity in that writer's work?

10. How does Camus differ from many other commentators when considering the work of Kafka?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare the ways in which Kafka's and Dostoevsky's heroes illustrate the idea of The Absurd. In your essay, you will need to show that you understand Camus' rationale for using these heroes as exemplars of his thought. Mention the ways in which the heroes are similar in their attitudes to the world and their fates, and ways in which they are different. Refer only to what Camus says about them. Do not use the novels themselves as reference material.

Essay Topic 2

'Philosophy is simultaneously important and unimportant.' Can you explain the apparent paradox in this statement? You should make close reference to Camus' absurdist beliefs as expounded in The Myth of Sisyphus. You might like to consider what other paradoxes appear in this work and discuss the possibility of these being resolved.

Essay Topic 3

Comment on the implications of what Camus calls the 'hiatus between what we fancy we know and what we really know'. You might like to focus on the famous example of Galileo and the Inquisition or cite other instances in which there was a gap between what humans thought they knew and what actually was the case ('flat' earth or the 'impossibility of stones falling from the sky'). As well as examining the implications of this hiatus, consider solutions to the problem.

(see the answer keys)

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