Empty phrases that he gropes forward with — phrases like "his grim resolve" and "his secret grief," phrases that border on being clichés. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Still considering his setting, note that Camus has done two things with Oran as a stage for his chronicle. 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. Exhausted and preoccupied by the fever patients, he agrees to drop by and discuss a matter with Cottard concerning something about which Cottard is irritatingly vague. His dictionaries, his blackboard, the crammed full portfolio, his study of Latin to perfect his French — all this — his search for the basic, the Ur-origins — is admirable, but he seems, thus far, neglecting the people who speak the language he delves into. Two things are done here with Grand. This is, in a sense, what Camus is doing in the opening scenes of The Plague. The reader must here see Grand against the background described earlier. The narrator's insistence on the book's objectivity stresses his wish to present the truth, as nearly as possible. Yet one must live committed "as if" man and love ultimately mattered. Like Meursault, Tarrou is unconcerned about most things. Before leaving this chapter, there are two more incidents of credit for the doctor. The Plague literature essays are academic essays for citation. 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. Surprisingly, it is the town's ugliness, its lack of trees, its hideous houses, and the ridiculous layout. The doctor patiently fights the plague, but is often confused about his duty: he, as the doctor, is supposed to save people, but in the case of plague, he just has a chance to isolate them from the healthy ones, and record their death. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. With his wife away, he is left in a perspective larger than any plagued romantic tragedy. 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. 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. Societies too often contain hypocrisy and jealousy; there is seldom honesty and directness. Cleanliness is to be observed. That the rats themselves mean something more serious is ignored by the general population. The ganglia deaths are not even mentioned, and a certain knowing cynicism about journalists' reporting only what happens in the streets — not behind closed doors — reveals Camus' ever serious concern with truth. He read the shocking chalk-scrawled note on Cottard's door and dashed in. He takes particular delight in regularly watching an old man coax cats beneath his balcony then, ecstatically, spitting on them. Even before the crises that the plague will create, here is a crisis of major importance — a crisis for truth. Camus -- the Plague An Analysis of Social Representation in Camus' the Plague The French philosophical novel of the 20th century was a self-contained worldview, best described by Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus. It provides a thorough exploration of the novel’s plot, characters and main themes, including war, guilt and disease. Recognition of bottomless death makes a habit-bound life even more absurd. In his 1947 novel, The Plague, Albert Camus tells the riveting story of the quarantined city of Oran, Algeria, that suffers a vicious outbreak of the plague.The plague increasingly and randomly kills the young and the old, the rich and the poor. His thoughts of fellow Athenians fighting one another centuries ago for burial rite space for their dead foreshadows a like battle he will fight when he attempts to properly care for the sick and dying. There is more, though, to Tarrou than a seemingly morbid curiosity. 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. There is a breakdown in communication between Rieux and other men. In this way, The Plague is infused with Camus' belief in the value of optimism in times of hopelessness. His try at imagining the annihilation of five movie houses of people is an attempt to arrive at something concrete and meaningful. And if fatality is wretched normally, imagine what discomfort will be encountered during the pages of this long chronicle of death. In January 1941, the twenty-eight year old French writer Albert Camus began work on a novel about a virus that spreads uncontrollably from animals to humans and ends up destroying half the population of a representative modern town. Ironically, Rieux remarks, just such insignificant people often escape plague. He will tell, he says, "what happened." He muses on the dimensions of Grand's character — measurements which are unexceptional, but important in their implications. First, Rieux considers Grand's occupation as clerk. The taste of death in the town has invigorated him. An atheist, Camus did not believe that death, suffering, and human existence had any intrinsic moral or rational meaning. He does not undergo here a metamorphosis and emerge something much grander than before. Camus and The Plague. One should question, at this point, whether Rieux is wholly to be trusted. The Plague-Novel Analysis, 2004. Plague never enters his head. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. His is a quiet, unsensational role, but it is exemplary in that he is totally committed to his fellow men and has "no truck with injustice or compromises with the truth.". The Plague concerns an outbreak of bubonic plague in the French-Algerian port city of Oran, sometime in the 1940s. Through close analysis of its formal qualities it is evident that the text can be read in three different ways. When a mild hysteria grips the population, the newspapers begin clamoring for action. The Plague Introduction. The Plague Introduction. Rieux counters his introductory remarks by debunking them. Love, for Camus, is a mixture of "desire, affection, and intelligence." Language is living. The doctor gives Grand credit for being a man of feelings. The book, after all, is an allegory, but becomes more successful in all its levels partly because of its existent geographic setting. Camus' The Plague is an uncannily prescient description of the world of COVID-19, giving us reasons for reflection, and finally for hope. (Camus 44) Rieux stays, faces his fear of death, and stays altruistic to fill the duty of being a doctor. Tarrou's suggestion that one might profitably remain on a balcony during a Sunday afternoon is reminiscent of what Meursault of Camus' The Stranger does on Sunday afternoon — watching, looking, seeing. As a reader, you might consider how he would view the old Spaniard who carefully puts dried peas from one pot to another. It is the story of a plague epidemic in the city of Oran in the 1940's and tells of the individual destinies of some of its inhabitants, who all react to the situation in a different way. Analysis The Plague Albert Camus English Literature Essay “Through a core of characters, Camus describes their fear, their confusion, their isolation from the loved ones and the outside world, their self-sufficiency, their compassion, and their ultimately inherent humanism as a … Is the old man aware of what he is doing? At present, he admits that he works for a newspaper that compromises with truth. The most meaningful action within the context of Camus' philosophy is to choose to fight death and suffering. Marina Warnerhas noted the lack of female characters and th… He is totally pledged to the populace, but not even yet does he divine what it is that hovers over Oran. Examining the city more closely, the narrator says that love is particularly repulsive in Oran. He has simply seen something as deadly as plague with epidemic proportions. From the title, you know this book is about a plague. Still, it had decimated the city in the 16th century and the 17th. Modern antibiotics are effective in treating it. Camus is teasing our suspense. In his volume of essays, The Myth of Sisyphus, published five years before The Plague, he says that contrasts between the natural and the extraordinary, the individual and the universal, the tragic and the everyday are essential ingredients for the absurd work. And, in his quiet way, Camus is also using satire. This is a wholly new experience and he savors it. As yet, Grand has to show us any real sympathy. 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. The reader should also remember that the book is not, per se, a novel; the volume is a chronicle, and thus we should not expect avant garde or impressionistic devices — nothing except, as nearly as possible, a factual account of a plague and the people affected. The plague in question afflicted Oran in the 1940'2; and on one plane the book is a straightforward narrative. 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 Rieux is futilely attempting a professional search for the truth. Most of Oran talks, scribbles, and muscles their days into ample financial rewards. In any case, the reader should note that Camus does not single out lovers clinging together during a plague situation to snare his readers' attention. When the garbage cans begin filling with rats, he telephones the sanitation department — a businesslike and correct way to deal with the situation. Web. Camus has often been characterized as a godless Christian, meaning that he expounds all the Christian virtues, but only in terms of man. His search is for a knowledge that will produce a perfect prose. 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. Because of fear? His novel The Plague has recently garnered much worldwide attention do to the pandemic of 2020. Its death-dealing powers are so enormous that his imagination fails to respond to the figure of a hundred million deaths, a figure he reckons as the historical toll of plague. He is still in vague, unbelieving awe, as if the word had barely left his open mouth. Grand struggles over perfecting the beginning of a manuscript. 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. There are numerous articles written in popular magazines satirizing our culture as mechanistic and materialistic. Rieux notes his sense of humor, his love of swimming, and his fondness for the company of dancers and musicians. Moreover, it is questionable whether they were really alive. 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. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Plague. Rieux is a doctor; throughout the book, he doctors. 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." 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. Summary and Meaning of Camus’ “The Plague” April 9, 2020 Existentialism Albert Camus (1913 – 1960) was a French author and philosopher who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. In this paper, I would like to discuss such character of Camus’ novel The Plague as Joseph Grand. Word games are ridiculous now. He seems disconnected, interested primarily in himself. The Plague (Penguin Classics). Learn more about The Plague with a detailed plot summary and plot diagram. The citizens of Oran become prisoners of the plague when their city falls under total quarantine, but it is questionable whether they were really "free" before the plague. It is, however, Rieux's early indifference to the rats which eventually passes. But when he says that prompt action should be taken but "don't attract attention," he is pitifully similar to the civil rights fighter who supports protest marches as long as they are done in good taste and don't "attract attention." The concern with love gone wrong is a symptom of an illness within Oran even before the plague of death strikes. Some of Camus' descriptions of the rats in this chapter are worth brief notice. Leaving Grand, Rieux tends more patients. Consider, too, the scene in which Cottard's suicide motive was discussed. He seems to manage, cheerfully enough, on what certainly can't be more than a pittance of a salary. 559. This chapter also provides a fuller treatment of the character of Grand. The plague is just one incarnation of death, which is an omnipresent “collective disaster,” so the hierarchies were basically absurd before the plague as well. Judt, Tony. © 2020 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The Plague Summary. Since my university days, I have been deeply attracted to Albert Camus (1913-1960), both his novels and his philosophical essays. The Plague Summary. 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. This technique, it is worth noting, is somewhat similar to that of a Greek tragedy. Castel says that, ironically, something as tiny as fleas are at the root of the problem. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. “The Plague” takes place in Oran, a city that Camus, as a son and partisan of its rival, Algiers, found tacky, shallow, commercial; treeless and soulless. He wonders about wasting time, for example, and his present answer is "by being fully aware of it," one does not waste it. His uneasy glances over his shoulder and his question about patients being arrested concern Rieux. For Meursault, that time is spent swimming, going to the movies, and making love. 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. 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. If so, this amplifies the narrator's comment in Chapter 2 comparing the rats to pus, oozing from the abscesses beneath the town. Consider, too, the fact that Grand has a "finical anxiety" about his speech. And, at this point, Rieux has pronounced the word "plague," but has not wholly adjusted to its revolting reality. Close identification, a major objective for most fiction authors, is to be avoided because emotional involvement will keep us from seeing the book as, at least, a three-dimensional allegory. Why didn't Grand respond then? Perhaps, it is hoped, the plague will then take care of itself. The sea, of course, is a striking symbol for life, richly and lushly lived. The Plague by Albert Camus is an existentialist classic, in which he continues to question the absurdity of life and applies the notion of rebellion. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs. 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. He merely replied "a secret grief," and refused to look at the officer. Who is this man? As an actual Algerian town in North Africa, it functions as an anchor of reality for the reader. Finally Rieux seems at a loss for an answer. Analysis Of Albert Camus 'BookThe Plague' 1424 Words | 6 Pages. 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. The Plague's first chapter is a rather neat, concise package of setting and background, and Chapter 2 is, in a sense, another such block of writing, somewhat like a second solid step taken into the novel, but with a difference. Knowing, of course, that he (the narrator) is Dr. Rieux, we can see a kind of scientific detachment to his style, in addition to his hope to be objectively truthful. He describes the blood puddles around their noses as looking like red flowers. He hopes to tell his story authentically, directing the narrative to our intellect and our imagination rather than to our heart strings. Another colleague of Rieux's loudly supports the Prefect's stand on the issue, explaining away the fever in vague, medical-book sounding generalities. Death is a "discomfort." This impression is now modified. Previous Camus wrote early on, in an essay entitled Le Desert, about “repugnant materialism”. Characterization in Albert Camus’ ‘The Plague’ and Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot.’ Rieux, as narrator, castigates the townspeople for their stupidity and frivolity, these people who refuse to conjure and consider consequences. Once more, as a point of reference, Camus' earlier fictional character of Meursault won't ask for a transfer; neither does Grand ask for salary raises or advancements. For an informed analysis of The Plague, we need to look at some background to Camus’ philosophy in two other essays, one published before The Plague and one after. Margaret Betz is an assistant teaching professor of philosophy at Rutgers University – Camden and is the author of the book The Hidden Philosophy of … Are you sure you want to remove #bookConfirmation# What logic, he wonders, is behind the destruction of Oran? The citizens of Oran become prisoners of the plague when their city falls under total quarantine, but it is questionable whether they were really "free" before the plague. His remarks about his new acquaintances being good — witnesses and his unease in a gossip about a murder case — these suggest to Grand that he has something on his conscience. An older doctor is present and urges him to admit it. Only old Dr. Castel says matter-of-factly that plague is their visitor. And since Camus has lamented that man's imagination has ceased to function, perhaps the reader would do well to expand it here in this trapped, sizzling, "normal" situation of death and imagine the eventual effect of the plague. 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