She'll decide the importance of this unpleasant talk about rats when need be. This Study Guide consists of approximately 75 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Plague. The chapter ends with Rieux hesitating before he actually acknowledges, pronouncing the words, that this is indeed plague which is beginning to devour Oran. Cuizon, Gwendolyn. The Myth of Sisyphus The Myth of Sisyphus (1942) is about the concept of absurdity. 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. His unimportance is particularized and then this nonimportance is generalized into symbolic significance. And if fatality is wretched normally, imagine what discomfort will be encountered during the pages of this long chronicle of death. The authorities finally arrange for the daily collection and cremation of the rats. The chronicle's action, however, develops slowly. The most meaningful action within the context of Camus' philosophy is to choose to fight death and suffering. For Meursault, that time is spent swimming, going to the movies, and making love. 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. Dr. Bernard Rieux The surgeon — narrator of The Plague.. Jean Tarrou The best friend of Rieux.His notebooks are used as part of the chronicle. Plague is proclaimed. The reader must here see Grand against the background described earlier. This is a wholly new experience and he savors it. Before Oran is finally quarantined, Dr. Rieux confronts one more tangle in the local snarl of red tape. The emphasis on the habits which have been formed and cultivated by the "soulless" people of Oran are significant. But because he shows little concern for the rats, but is sufficiently fascinated by Oran to record its idiosyncrasies, he is excellent for Rieux's purpose — a substantiation in presenting as accurate a picture as possible about the first days of the plague. There is a breakdown in communication between Rieux and other men. The image expands and colors the chapter. The concern with love gone wrong is a symptom of an illness within Oran even before the plague of death strikes. Grand struggles over perfecting the beginning of a manuscript. Perhaps, it is hoped, the plague will then take care of itself. He is staggered by the knowledge that he has reasoned out for himself. Lebesque, Richard. Rieux is a doctor; throughout the book, he doctors. Rieux, of course, is intolerant of such a situation and abruptly ends their conversation. In contrast to his quandary in this chapter, the natural beauty of the outside beams healthily. He has fought throughout this chapter for official resolutions to help just such people. 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. 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. Although it is too early for me to advance any far-fetched arguments, I can say that Joseph is very much similar to Sisyphus; he becomes accustomed to the routine nature of daily life, and his existence reminds us of Sisyphus’ attempts to roll a rock to the top of the mountain. This particular plague happens in a Algerian port town called Oran in the 1940s. This idea of not wasting time and of infusing the utmost consciousness into the present moment is an important existential tenet. The Plague (Penguin Classics). Here also we know in advance the horrible fate in store for the characters, and we watch as the scenes unfold the familiar fate and the agony of, say, Oedipus or Creon. 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. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Plague. Thus, it seems as though he is searching for an endpoint or goal of some sort — and has found it in Oran. In the beginning, then, the rats are a ready topic of conversation for the townspeople, drawing them together in chattery groups. It provides a thorough exploration of the novel’s plot, characters and main themes, including war, guilt and disease. Here is a point, brief as it is, of normalcy to weigh later against the extreme. But he is not alone. 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. Another character, although her part in the book is small, is introduced in this first chapter and is important because she exhibits a general Oranian attitude toward the plague's symptoms. He insists on being left in peace, yet now he effects a change. In the face of such a seemingly meaningless choice, between death and death, the fact that they make a choice to act and fight for themselves and their community becomes even more meaningful; it is a note of defiance thrown against the wind, but that note is the only thing through which someone can define himself. Rieux counters his introductory remarks by debunking them. And Camus proves as facile with the paradoxical. The emergency measures are insufficient. The Plague-Novel Analysis, 2004. On the contrary, he appears to be much more concerned with words than he does with people. He shrugs away the matter, saying "it'll pass." Gulliver's Travels has improbable place names, as does Erewhon, and both works have a fairy tale quality, largely because of their ambiguous settings. A snail's pace is exactly the tempo that the town has taken concerning the investigation of the curious fever deaths. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. Camus' immediately attacking the problem of exposition and setting, and defining them simply and directly, establishes a tone which he will hold until the book's end. This is far from the romantic Mediterranean town we might expect on the shores of the sea. He is sure that he is a good neighbor, but is he? 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. Who is this man? A man only begins living, according to Camus, when he announces in advance his own death to himself and realizes the consequences. Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Plot Summary of “The Plague” by Albert Camus. The atmosphere is as oppressive as a sickroom. One knows what he encounters when he swims. The Plague is the most thorough fictional presentation of Camus’s mature thinking. In addition, Camus is striving for an esthetic distance between the reader and the novel which will keep the reader an observer. Moreover, it is questionable whether they were really alive. He even admits that his heart responds whenever he recalls his deceased parents. Albert Camus’s novel The Plague is set in Oran, a French port on the Algerian coast in the 1940s. This speculation of Rieux's turns into musings throughout Chapter 6. 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. These details are the gears and wheels of Rieux's project of truth; they are the bits of conversation, street-corner portraits, the city's nerve ends. Margaret Betz is an assistant teaching professor of philosophy at Rutgers University – Camden and is the author of the book The Hidden Philosophy of … The character focus of the book is not wholly on Dr. Rieux, but because he is, in disguise, the narrator, he assumes a kind of early main character or hero focal point. bookmarked pages associated with this title. Once they do become aware of it, they must decide what measures they will take to fight the deadly disease. The Plague concerns an outbreak of bubonic plague in the French-Algerian port city of Oran, sometime in the 1940s. the doctor's several instances of demonstrated humanity are now even more clearly emphasized. But Camus’ characters in La Peste illustrate that, although they know they are powerless against plague, they can bear witness to it, and this is in itself of value. The chronicle’s unknown narrator eventually reveals himself as Dr. Rieux, who has been trying to take a more detached view of the plague. Grand's character takes on ambiguous shapes. Fear of the future? What logic, he wonders, is behind the destruction of Oran? It is, however, Rieux's early indifference to the rats which eventually passes. Chapter I is written in a sum-up style by a narrator who slips us occasional asides throughout his short discourse. All of this can be an exercise, if done consciously, to revolt against time's silent, sure murder of the body. It will be artificial and devoid of that vital flush of life that separates an artist from a craftsman. Camus' philosophy is an amalgam of existentialism and humanism. The Plague Introduction. Yet one must live committed "as if" man and love ultimately mattered. The Plague. The first dead rat begins the chapter; the first victim ends it. 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. Oran is not the typical Mediterranean town described in guidebooks as having a "delightfully sunny complexion and charming little balconies overhanging narrow streets, with delightful glimpses of shady courtyards." He wonders about wasting time, for example, and his present answer is "by being fully aware of it," one does not waste it. Shortly thereafter, when a rat comes from the sewer it is described as spinning on itself with a little squeal, a sort of miniature ballet before death. Oran turns its back on nature, on sincerity, and truth; its concern is with the materialistic and the habitual. As an actual Algerian town in North Africa, it functions as an anchor of reality for the reader. In social waters, swimming is done blindly. The other doctors refuse to draw conclusions or make an attempt to consider the cases. The Outsider, The Plague, And The Fall By Albert Camus Analysis 1774 Words | 8 Pages. All rights reserved. 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. That the rats themselves mean something more serious is ignored by the general population. The Plague by Albert Camus Analysis (I) “The only picture I carried away with me of that day’s proceedings was a picture of the criminal. As he does, Rieux is staring at the cliffs, the piece of bay, the sky — at nature, at creativity; he says "plague" to himself, and his thoughts of impending death create a polar contrast with the free, natural scene before him. 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. His determination to be simply efficient and thorough is his answer for the present — doing one's job as it should be done. The death figure drops, then spurts up sharply. As a reader, you might consider how he would view the old Spaniard who carefully puts dried peas from one pot to another. He muses on the dimensions of Grand's character — measurements which are unexceptional, but important in their implications. His novel The Plague has recently garnered much worldwide attention do to the pandemic of 2020. Learn more about The Plague with a detailed plot summary and plot diagram. In this sense, man is sacred, but absurdly sacred; he may die in any moment, just as love may disappear within a moment. The taste of death in the town has invigorated him. But what interests him most about Oran? 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. We’ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50% for our End-of-Year sale—Join Now! She has seen depression, a loss of her husband, has surely even seen war; besides, she's with her son. The reader should imagine and reason possibilities for himself by asking such questions as: why did Cottard try to commit suicide? Camus has often been characterized as a godless Christian, meaning that he expounds all the Christian virtues, but only in terms of man. 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. When Camus wrote this novel, there was no epidemic of plague in Oran. She survives. Black is white to the people, and Camus' adjectives, in a parallel, often describe something quite the opposite of what is. Rieux modifies his seeming indecision by saying that the symptoms are not "classic," and at this point his purist view is alarming. In fact, Camus says later that the rats were coming out in long swaying lines and doing "a sort of pirouette." He now eats in luxury restaurants and flourishes grand tips. He tosses semantics to the timid-tongued doctors. 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. In earlier works—notably the play Caligula (pb. Nature seems indifferent to the mushrooming fungus of destruction. The Plague, on the other hand, is more satisfying on the literal level because of its specifically placed setting, and, in addition, the literal level has more concern for the human condition than, say, the literal level of Gulliver's Travels. The Plague, or La Peste in its original French, is a novel written by philosopher/writer Albert Camus in 1947. In the 14th century, the bubonic plague, also known as the “Black Death” killed almost a third of the 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. Finally Rieux seems at a loss for an answer. Their lives were strictly regimented by an unconscious enslavement to their habits. 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. 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 The casual mention here is being heavily underplayed. The tale is highly allegorical, meaning that it uses concrete characters, places, and events to symbolize non-literal or abstract principles. Is he wasting time? Modern antibiotics are effective in treating it. Camus and The Plague. Rieux includes a brief physical description of himself written by Tarrou, and then ends the chapter which seems, on the whole, somewhat fragmentary. Indeed, this thorough and methodical attitude will continue throughout his dealings with the plague. 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. Characterization in Albert Camus’ ‘The Plague’ and Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot.’ Another colleague of Rieux's loudly supports the Prefect's stand on the issue, explaining away the fever in vague, medical-book sounding generalities. 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". He is relieved, you remember, when Rieux says that he will protect him. The townspeople of Oran insist that the rats are surely meaningless, whereas the rats are extremely meaningful. The mess starts when rats everywhere die. It should be especially noted here that the doctor is attempting an emotional response to the advent of plague. 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. “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. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Spring's heavy perfume is in extreme contrast to the heavy smell of death. Here is a man who challenges death in this repulsive setting and accomplishes what he desires most — making music. Albert Camus' gritty philosophical masterpiece, The Plague, tells of the horror and suffering that accompanied a plague as it swept through 1940s Algeria. Irritated that Dr. Richard would sarcastically accuse him of having proven the disease to be plague, Rieux insists that he has not proven plague. His try at imagining the annihilation of five movie houses of people is an attempt to arrive at something concrete and meaningful. His novel can be seen as an allegory about French resistance to the Nazi’s during World War 2. An atheist, Camus did not believe that death, suffering, and human existence had any intrinsic moral or rational meaning. An older doctor is present and urges him to admit it. Again, this is a marvelous sort of endeavor, but the result will be too perfect. This illness is … In this way, The Plague is infused with Camus' belief in the value of optimism in times of hopelessness. Officially, rats and fleas are to be exterminated; illnesses resembling the mysterious fever are to be reported and patients isolated. Referring once more to Oran's position on the sea, he says that it is humped "snail-wise" on the plateau. When the garbage cans begin filling with rats, he telephones the sanitation department — a businesslike and correct way to deal with the situation. Nevertheless, Camus did believe that people are capable of giving their lives meaning. He is still in vague, unbelieving awe, as if the word had barely left his open mouth. This is, in a sense, what Camus is doing in the opening scenes of The Plague. Is the man going to insist that definitions and clinical reports be compiled and printed? Analysis Of Albert Camus 'BookThe Plague' 1424 Words | 6 Pages. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs. Once they do become aware of it, they must decide what measures they will take to fight the deadly disease. In April, thousands of rats stagger into the open and die. It is bound, perhaps even strangling itself, with habits. Jean Tarrou, on the other hand, is intrigued. He will tell, he says, "what happened." 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. At last word comes from the head of officialdom — Rieux's efforts to convince the proper authority that an epidemic has begun are rewarded — the town is to be severed, totally isolated. 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. Fleeing the city or otherwise avoiding the anti-plague effort is tantamount to surrendering to the absurd death sentence under which every human being lives. The plague in question afflicted Oran in the 1940'2; and on one plane the book is a straightforward narrative. It is Tarrou who will supply the details to fill in the broader narrative outlines of Rieux. The announcement of death is paramount in Camus' philosophy and in his novels. Societies too often contain hypocrisy and jealousy; there is seldom honesty and directness. Studying his reaction to the dead rats — the symptoms of the plague — we find him to be a common-sense type of "hero." Ironically, Rieux remarks, just such insignificant people often escape plague. Removing #book# Talking about Cottard, Grand says that the only previous instance of any odd behavior is that the fellow always seemed to want to start a conversation. He read the shocking chalk-scrawled note on Cottard's door and dashed in. Yet both are. Their numbers seem only an oddity, a curiosity. The doomed citizens, shut off and abandoned to die, cope with various strategies as the months drag on their languished souls. 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