What Was the Theme of “The Guest” by Albert Camus?

In the French novel “The Guest,” author Albert Camus implies an ambiguous theme that explores how to be hospitable, yet true to personal values and beliefs. The main character, Daru, struggles with his beliefs about European justice and the wrongdoings of his Arab guest, while working to stay within the boundaries of the hospitality and social obligations of hosting this guest, who is a prisoner.

Throughout the duration of the fictional piece of literature, the main character tries to be an enforcer and gracious host at the same time, according to eNotes.com. The inner conflict of the story ties to the theme repetitively as the prisoner and guest tries to convince Daru to release him or join him in his efforts to rebel against the French government. The eNotes study guide points out that Daru faces a crossroad in his beliefs and his role as a host when he is ordered to transport the guest to prison. The main character ultimately fulfills his role as a host by providing the prisoner with food and drink, but he ultimately puts his beliefs aside to let the guest make his own decision to escape or head toward the road to prison. The theme of “The Guest” is prominent within the conclusion as Daru faces the reality that the choices he had to make will not satisfy all guests.