Since my university days, I have been deeply attracted to Albert Camus (1913-1960), both his novels and his philosophical essays. Jean Tarrou, on the other hand, is intrigued. The story centers on a physician and the people he works with and treats in an Algerian port town that is struck by the plague. Perhaps because he is so near death himself, he enjoys with relish the instinctive feeling that he will not die alone but with numerous companions. Albert Camus' vision in The Plague was bleak, but his study in terrorism is also a fable of redemption, finds Marina Warner Buy The Plague at Amazon.co.uk Sat 26 Apr 2003 18.35 EDT Moreover, it is questionable whether they were really alive. Once they do become aware of it, they must decide what measures they will take to fight the deadly disease. Having briefly illuminated Oran's life and love, the next focus is naturally enough on the other end of the human cycle — death. This study guide and infographic for Albert Camus's The Plague offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. the doctor's several instances of demonstrated humanity are now even more clearly emphasized. Thus, it seems as though he is searching for an endpoint or goal of some sort — and has found it in Oran. Camus and The Plague - Articles from The School of Life, formally The Book of Life, a gathering of the best ideas around wisdom and emotional intelligence. Grand's character takes on ambiguous shapes. Perhaps Camus' several years of newspaper writing were the genesis of this style or helped formulate his ideas concerning the need for careful, documented truthfulness. It will be artificial and devoid of that vital flush of life that separates an artist from a craftsman. He takes particular delight in regularly watching an old man coax cats beneath his balcony then, ecstatically, spitting on them. Germaine Brée has characterised the struggle of the characters against the plague as "undramatic and stubborn", and in contrast to the ideology of "glorification of power" in the novels of André Malraux, whereas Camus' characters "are obscurely engaged in saving, not destroying, and this in the name of no ideology". In earlier works—notably the play Caligula (pb. Indeed, this thorough and methodical attitude will continue throughout his dealings with the plague. In the 14th century, the bubonic plague, also known as the “Black Death” killed almost a third of the Camus wrote early on, in an essay entitled Le Desert, about “repugnant materialism”. "It's like that sometimes," says Rieux's mother, suggesting a seen-much, lived-through-much mind. If so, this amplifies the narrator's comment in Chapter 2 comparing the rats to pus, oozing from the abscesses beneath the town. Officially, rats and fleas are to be exterminated; illnesses resembling the mysterious fever are to be reported and patients isolated. Usually soft is associated only with pleasant sensations, but here it is used in reverse. So that the book will not have a one-viewpoint narrative, the author of the chronicle offers the notebooks of — not an Oranian — but those of an outsider, Jean Tarrou. The central irony in The Plague lies in Camus' treatment of "freedom." Camus has said in one of his essays that the absurd is often encountered when one is suddenly aware that habits have strangled natural responses and reactions, that habits have simplified one into simplemindedness. (There was a monthlong outbreak in Oran in 2003.) The Plague, or La Peste in its original French, is a novel written by philosopher/writer Albert Camus in 1947. This chapter also provides a fuller treatment of the character of Grand. Here is a man who challenges death in this repulsive setting and accomplishes what he desires most — making music. Camus does not slide him into a pivotal part to be an obvious mouthpiece for any heroics of philosophizing or, for that matter, any other kind of typical heroics. of being alone? The Plague Introduction. These people Camus describes are recognizable as Americans and as western Europeans. He is staggered by the knowledge that he has reasoned out for himself. Analysis Of Albert Camus 'BookThe Plague' 1424 Words | 6 Pages. All of this can be an exercise, if done consciously, to revolt against time's silent, sure murder of the body. By presenting another viewpoint, that of someone who has no family or loved ones affected by the plague to color his account in his notebooks, the truth of "what happened" will be more nearly correct. Everyone who chooses to fight the plague, to rebel against death, knows that their efforts increase their chances of contracting the plague, but they also realize they could contract the plague if they did nothing at all. The Myth of Sisyphus The Myth of Sisyphus (1942) is about the concept of absurdity. The emphasis on the habits which have been formed and cultivated by the "soulless" people of Oran are significant. Very briefly, we also meet in this chapter the senile, chuckling old Spaniard. The Plague, or La Peste in its original French, is a novel written by philosopher/writer Albert Camus in 1947. The final and short scene of the woman dripping with blood, stretching her arms in agony toward Rieux, is another incident to help us see Rieux as a man who is aware of human cries for help. Is the old man aware of what he is doing? The blood leaking from their mouths reminds him of his wife's illness and her imminent trip to a mountain sanatorium. of the past? Camus delineates some of the manifestations of a guilty conscience, but does not yet answer all the why's of Cottard's behavior. Camus' philosophy is an amalgam of existentialism and humanism. There is more, though, to Tarrou than a seemingly morbid curiosity. Cottard's character now takes on greater significance. It is, however, Rieux's early indifference to the rats which eventually passes. Most of Oran talks, scribbles, and muscles their days into ample financial rewards. That the rats themselves mean something more serious is ignored by the general population. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Plague. A fear that they will be "rough" with him? For Meursault, that time is spent swimming, going to the movies, and making love. Just as any rebellion against death and suffering is ultimately futile, so do the anti-plague efforts seem to make little difference in the relentless progress of the epidemic. Albert Camus’ ‘The Plague’ and the Philosophy of Suffering, 2007. This chapter is a kind of didactic catch-all for Camus-Rieux to vent personal feelings about the plague and all its implications. Rieux, as narrator, castigates the townspeople for their stupidity and frivolity, these people who refuse to conjure and consider consequences. Web. if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live as if there isn't and to die to find out that there is.” -Albert Camus, The Fall In Albert Camus’ novel The Plague, the author employs three main characters -- the narrator, Tarrou, and Father Paneloux -- to represent extremist views on religion and science in culture. Characterization in Albert Camus’ ‘The Plague’ and Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot.’ The Prefect sounds like a Liberal, but is an arch Conservative; he imagines himself encompassing each of his city's crises with sage wisdom and acting accordingly. And a snail's shell of indifference and ignorance is hiding the townspeople and even Rieux's colleagues from the truth. CliffsNotes study guides are written by real teachers and professors, so no matter what you're studying, CliffsNotes can ease your homework headaches and help you score high on exams. Rieux admits that he is afraid. Here again we see Rieux as quite the opposite of a wily Odysseus hero-type or an undaunted chivalric figure. The first dead rat begins the chapter; the first victim ends it. While The Plague is a tale of absurdist philosophy, it is also a novel with living characters and a deeply human story, and Camus’ writing is potent in its imagery of suffering, despair, and courage. Word games are ridiculous now. Yet one must live committed "as if" man and love ultimately mattered. Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Plot Summary of “The Plague” by Albert Camus. Camus' idea of living meaningfully, yet knowing full well that life has no eventual meaning, is a positive-negative contrast. Chapter I is written in a sum-up style by a narrator who slips us occasional asides throughout his short discourse. The reader should imagine and reason possibilities for himself by asking such questions as: why did Cottard try to commit suicide? While reading this novel, one should remember that Camus has an initial prerequisite for an understanding of his philosophy of the absurd: a realization and recognition of the fact of one's own death. By Sean Illing @seanilling Jul 22, 2020, 10:10am EDT One knows what he encounters when he swims. The situation of the rats may or may not be considered "normal," he says. Perhaps he is looking for an epitome of modern foulness. What Camus’s The Plague can teach us about the Covid-19 pandemic A conversation about solidarity and revolt in Camus’s famous novel. It is given to other men instead of to God. Castel says that, ironically, something as tiny as fleas are at the root of the problem. Into it, however, can be read all Camus's native anxieties, centred on the idea of plague as a symbol.' Camus conceived of the universe in terms of paradoxes and contrasts: man lives, yet he is condemned to die; most men live within the context of an afterlife, yet there has never been proof that an afterlife exists. It is only when they are separated by quarantine from their friends, lovers and families that they most intensively love them. In the first paragraph of the book, the ordinariness of Oran is contrasted with the extraordinary business of the plague, and on the surface the comment seems possibly only a bit of literary formula. The Plague (Penguin Classics). As the plague begins to abate, though, he becomes more and more paranoid that he is going to be arrested and his freedom forever curtailed. Again, this is a marvelous sort of endeavor, but the result will be too perfect. Analysis and discussion of characters in Albert Camus' The Plague. Of course, Rieux, the doctor-narrator is, as nearly as possible, scientifically objective in his reporting, but the account of Tarrou aids and insures even greater honesty in the finished statement concerning this period. And, in his quiet way, Camus is also using satire. Later the Oranians become vaguely uneasy. What logic, he wonders, is behind the destruction of Oran? Even the population seem indifferent as they perform their habitual, meaningless gestures. Empty phrases that he gropes forward with — phrases like "his grim resolve" and "his secret grief," phrases that border on being clichés. Consider, too, the fact that Grand has a "finical anxiety" about his speech. The mention of a "normal" dying man, "trapped behind hundreds of walls all sizzling with heat," suggests the mazes of Dante's hell, mazes which must be traversed before the plague's thousands of deaths are tolled. Studying his reaction to the dead rats — the symptoms of the plague — we find him to be a common-sense type of "hero." The plague tallies a few more deaths, and officials respond with a brief notice or two in obscure corners of the paper and small signs at obscure city points. Albert Camus's novel The Plague is about an epidemic of bubonic plague that takes place in the Al-gerian port city of Oran.When the plague first arrives, the residents are slow to recognize the mortal danger they are in. The mercantile air of Oran also pleases Tarrou. Further, he says he will ask, as a favor for the man, that the police inspector hold up the inquiry for a couple of days. His try at imagining the annihilation of five movie houses of people is an attempt to arrive at something concrete and meaningful. He is totally pledged to the populace, but not even yet does he divine what it is that hovers over Oran. People either have intercourse much as robots might, or they go about it animal-like — all this, he says because they lack time and thinking. Albert Camus: The Plague - Summary and Commentary from an Existentialist and Humanist Point of View Bubonic plague is a disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. This is a small point, for there is much description of the rats as repulsive and rotting, but Camus' occasional contrasts of appearance versus reality in his description is exactly what the chapter is concerned with. The tone here is low-keyed because the narrator is speaking of the normal day-to-day process of dying. Two things are done here with Grand. Holed up in his room, he pours over volumes of philology. (Camus 44) Rieux stays, faces his fear of death, and stays altruistic to fill the duty of being a doctor. He has considered, speculated, yet returned to his familiar role of the dedicated, commonsense doctor. It is difficult during these Covid days not to recall his most famous novel The Plague (1947) which describes the outbreak of a terrible disease which ravaged the population of Oran in North Africa, resulting in its isolation and shut down. Even now, perhaps, one believes that the novel will not be so wholly concerned with death, but it will be. As he watches and listens, it is the sea he hears most clearly as it murmurs with unrest, affirming "the precariousness of all things in this world." But what interests him most about Oran? It should be especially noted here that the doctor is attempting an emotional response to the advent of plague. The Plague is the most thorough fictional presentation of Camus’s mature thinking. She comes to visit her son during the first days of the plague. More important, he is a questioner and a self-examiner. In spite of their greed and thrift, there are no millionaires in the city, there are no artists of repute, no statesmen or politicians — there is actually no one known outside the city walls. Complete summary of Albert Camus' The Plague. He shrugs away the matter, saying "it'll pass." The story is narrated to us by an odd, nameless narrator strangely obsessed with objectivity, who tends to focus on a man named Dr. Bernard Rieux. Rieux is futilely attempting a professional search for the truth. It is at this point that one should revolt against his stultifying pattern of living. This idea of disgorging is similar to the disgorging of the bloodied, bloated rats from beneath the town — another parallel image-idea of Camus'. Rieux notices the sudden appearance of dying rats around town, and … The most meaningful action within the context of Camus' philosophy is to choose to fight death and suffering. Albert Camus's The Plague Plot Summary. He will tell, he says, "what happened." At present, he admits that he works for a newspaper that compromises with truth. His defense is with a semantic shield. He seems to manage, cheerfully enough, on what certainly can't be more than a pittance of a salary. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. © 2020 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. And, if up to now he has been one step ahead of the townspeople in conscientiously trying to isolate and arrest this mysterious virus, he has never completely stopped and considered the panorama of torment which will be in store for the prey of the plague. His search is for a knowledge that will produce a perfect prose. Why Tarrou singles out this particular instance to comment on is fairly obvious. Albert Camus, though denying the tag of existentialism, was and still is a great name amongst French existentialist authors who helped sculpt and define the movement in literature. By Ivan Spencer. Rieux's initial acceptance of the plague is a major scene in this first section, and as relief from this tension Chapter 5 briefly changes the pace. Gulliver's Travels has improbable place names, as does Erewhon, and both works have a fairy tale quality, largely because of their ambiguous settings. For example, Dr. Rieux feels something "soft" under his foot. The image expands and colors the chapter. His result has the tone of precision — much the same as Truman Capote's nonfiction novel In Cold Blood. The chapter begins with Dr. Rieux's discovering a dead rat and a crotchety concierge's indignant and comic fussings and it ends with a total of several thousands of dead rats, plus the plague's first death — M. Michel, the concierge. Only old Dr. Castel says matter-of-factly that plague is their visitor. His stand concerning the seriousness of the plague is important because he is the self-deceiver, one of the safest — and most despicable — of roles. Why didn't Grand respond then? The Outsider, The Plague, And The Fall By Albert Camus Analysis 1774 Words | 8 Pages. The Plague, is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran.It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny, and the human condition. Character List. Why does Cottard have an irrational fear of the police? Camus’ The Plague shows us the worth of “the path of sympathy” in these troubling times or, as Rieux says, that “a loveless world is a dead world”. Richard, the telephoned colleague of Dr. Rieux, exhibits an oft-used approach of intellectuals toward problems. For the present, he records the snatches of shallow gossip in Oran: the decay of the rats' bodies is seen as the only danger. The Plague is a novel written by Albert Camus, an ultimately bleak story about a terrible illness that swept through an unprepared town. The townspeople of Oran insist that the rats are surely meaningless, whereas the rats are extremely meaningful. Tarrou, besides liking musicians, sees Oran as a town built of physical ugliness and of a sterile commercial spirit. He is now concerned that he live, that the police do not arrest him, and that his rights be fully respected. This minute — now — this is what matters. The plague in question afflicted Oran in the 1940'2; and on one plane the book is a straightforward narrative. The chronicle’s unknown narrator eventually reveals himself as Dr. Rieux, who has been trying to take a more detached view of the plague. The Plague Summary. Making decisions about motivation and not succumbing to the evaluation of the central figure's is one of the hurdles in learning to read literature. 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