Like Meursault, Marie delights in physical contact. She kisses Meursault frequently in public and enjoys the act of sex. However, unlike Meursault’s physical affection for Marie, Marie’s physical affection for Meursault signals a deeper sentimental and emotional attachment. Though Marie is disappointed when Meursault expresses his indifference toward love and marriage, she does not end the relationship or rethink her desire to marry him. In fact, Meursault’s strange behavior seems part of his appeal for her. She says that she probably loves him because he is so peculiar. There also may be an element of pragmatism in Marie’s decision to marry Meursault. She enjoys a good deal of freedom within the relationship because he does not take any interest in her life when they are not together.
Whatever her motivations for entering into the relationship, Marie remains loyal to Meursault when he is arrested and put on trial. In the context of Camus’s absurdist philosophy, Marie’s loyalty represents a mixed blessing, because her feelings of faith and hope prevent her from reaching the understanding that Meursault attains at the end of the novel. Marie never grasps the indifference of the universe, and she never comes to understand the redemptive value of abandoning hope. Camus implies that Marie, lacking the deeper understanding of the universe that Meursault has attained, is less “enlightened” than Meursault.