The appearance of dying rats is the first alert to the wave of deadly plague that will wash over seaside Oran. 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. Camus often challenged the validity of accepted moral paradigms, but he did not view the human character as a moral vacuum. This is the Absurd that Camus confronts us with in the novel – a vast, meaningless, uncaring universe that we must deal with in some way. The mess starts when rats everywhere die. Check out our revolutionary side-by-side summary and analysis. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Such catastrophes test the tension between individual self-interest and social responsibility. His father was killed in World War I at the battle of Marne. The plague itself is based on several cholera and plague epidemics that swept through Oran during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They have denied the possibility of their own deaths by indulging in fantasies about absent loved ones. Rieux notices the sudden appearance of dying rats around town, and soon thousands of … At first, everyone is in denial. He came very close to accusing Rieux of indifference. 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 by Albert Camus Albert Camus published The Plague in 1947. Therefore, it is a test of Christian faith in the utmost sense: the Christian is faced with the choice between believing everything and denying everything about God. Rats. The Plague Introduction. The plague is often considered an allegory for war and military occupation, and Camus drew from his own experience to describe the isolation and struggle of the novel. The child suffers terribly before dying as Paneloux, Rieux, and Tarrou watch in horror. A wanderer who comes innocuously to Oran, he stays to help Rieux battle the plague and becomes its last victim. In the deadly grip of the plague, the public has turned its attention from religion to superstition. Therefore, Rieux marks him as a "doubtful case" after his death. For Chapter 11 there is special preparation because there is more than a confrontation between major characters. Camus implies that the people of Oran can break the alienation and isolation produced by their fear of the plague by putting up a collective resistance against it. During the plague, everyone craves this same contact, but they must also distrust everyone as a possible carrier of the deadly plague. The Plague concerns an outbreak of bubonic plague in the French-Algerian port city of Oran, sometime in the 1940s. The Plague Introduction + Context. As a philosopher familiar with Camus’ thought, I’d like to highlight the book’s main philosophical themes. Study Guide. On January 4, 1960, he was killed in an automobile accident in Southern France. Camus is often considered an existentialist, but the philosophy he most identified with and developed was called absurdism. Check out our detailed character descriptions. Rieux verifies his suspicion that her health is failing with the sanitarium authorities. It's a fictional story written about the very real town of Oran in Northern Algeria. Meanwhile, Castel finishes the first batch of serum, and Othon's small son is the first to receive it. He chose to passively accept death, something that the novel argues against. The desire for human contact is a powerful human need, especially in times of suffering. The actor playing Orpheus collapses on the stage in the manner of a plague victim just as Eurydice is taken back to the Underworld. He denied the basic drive of the human will to survive. Although his family was impoverished, Camus went on to attend university in Algiers. The Plague Albert Camus was born on November 7, 1913, in Mondovi, Algeria. Everyone in Oran must distrust everyone else as a possible carrier of the plague. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. The absurd hero is a hero because he achieves the ultimate rebellion--that which resists the illusion of a rational order while also resisting despair. Throughout his life, Camus was deeply concerned with the problem of human suffering in an indifferent world. It is true that Rieux dispensed with sentimental pity. He chooses not to consult a doctor when he becomes ill because he wants to put all of his faith in divine Providence. Camus implies that the people of Oran can break the alienation and isolation produced by their fear of the plague by putting up a collective resistance against it. Camus moves from the general to the less general and then to various lengths of specifics before presenting again a full chapter of action. Fear and denial are both responsible for the isolation that Oran's people suffer during the epidemic. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. While the philosophy of Camus' fiction often tends to imply that no moral order actually has a rational basis, Camus himself did not act with moral indifference. Paneloux cites a chronicle of a previous epidemic in which only four monks survived, three of whom fled the stricken city. By Albert Camus. Rieux is amazed to see gentleness in Othon's character because he has always regarded him as a steely, inflexible man. His second sermon is an interesting variation on Rieux's "all or nothing" response to the plague. Fighting the plague is an affirmation of the human will to survive while the paralysis of fear and escapism are acts of surrender. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. His father was killed in World War I at the battle of Marne. Rather, since Camus does not draw a direct correlation between the lack of hope and despair, his philosophy can best be characterized as a form of optimism without hope . Camus won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1957. The Plague is essentially a philosophical novel, meaning that it forwards a particular worldview through its plot and characterization. The plague strikes people from all social classes and positions, which only highlights the absurdity and arbitrariness of such hierarchies. Tarrou's sympathy for the defendant was very much like that which Camus felt for a boatload of prisoners he saw in the Algerian port in 1938. When reality creeps into the fabric of the public's fantasy world, they react with disorganized terror. The Plague Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory. When Paneloux delivers his next sermon, the church is emptier than before. He falls ill with the plague and Rieux burns his papers at his request. 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. He declares that the unanswerable question of an innocent child's suffering is God's way of placing the Christian's back to a wall. From the creators of SparkNotes. However, he does not really break free from his alienation. The play is also about lovers separated by death. When a definite time for his escape is finally set, Rambert chooses to stay because he is too ashamed to leave during such a crisis. Even Dr. Rieux, you should remember, although he had treated victims for several months, had not fully experienced the plague's death throes until he watched the process take place within Jacques Othon. The Plague Introduction + Context. This particular plague happens in a Algerian port town called Oran in the 1940s. Rieux's asthma patient gleefully declares that the rats are back. Grand makes a surprising recovery, and better yet, the plague deaths overall begin to decline. Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory. Albert Camus (1913 – 1960) was a French author and philosopher who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. Camus does not fully answer the problem of human isolation. Indifference is a state of inaction or denial in response to other people's suffering. Rieux lashes out at Paneloux, shouting that the boy was an innocent victim. Albert Camus was born on November 7, 1913, in Mondovi, Algeria. Find summaries for every chapter, including a The Plague Chapter Summary Chart to help you understand the book. The actor's breach of the accepted routine forces them to confront the plague as a real danger to each and every one of them. Need help on characters in Albert Camus's The Plague? It tests his faith because it requires him to either deny everything or believe everything. The Plague Part 5 Summary & Analysis | LitCharts. Previous Next . He also wrote extensively about the conditions of poverty in Algeria while working as a journalist for an anti- colonialist newspaper. During World War II, Camus went to Paris and joined the anti-Nazi resistance movement. For other uses, see Plague (disambiguation). The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Rieux must harden his heart against his own suffering in order to continue contributing to the anti-plague effort. Jean Tarrou The best friend of Rieux. And then the worst is over. However, the symptoms of his illness do not match those of the plague. In a sense, Paneloux asks his congregation to accept a condition of ignorance. Now that everyone suffers from a constant sense of fear, Cottard feels less alone. The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story from the point of view of a narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. He craves human contact, but he distrusts everyone as a possible police informant. Paneloux believes that the suffering of innocents is not explicable in terms that human beings can understand. His wife is slowly dying in a sanitarium 100 miles from Oran while he is trapped in the city. It is interesting that in 1941, when Camus was jotting ideas for the novel in his notebooks, he had decided to have a sea full of corpses. Although his family was impoverished, Camus went on to attend university in Algiers. Detailed Summary & Analysis Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Themes Camus' philosophy borrows a lot of ideas from the Existentialist movement. Paneloux cannot produce a moral or rational explanation for an innocent child's horrible death. Calm at first, the audience eventually stampedes for the exit. Albert Camus is one of the 20th century’s most esteemed writers, and La Peste, or The Plague (1947), is considered one of his masterpieces. Similar to the Existentialists, Camus asserted that there is no intrinsic rational or moral meaning in human existence. Earlier in the novel, Rambert accused Rieux of using the language of abstraction instead of the language of the heart. His notebooks are used as part of the chronicle. Need help with Part 5 in Albert Camus's The Plague? They flock to movies and cafes to feel less alone, but it is unwise to assume that mutual escapism really constitutes a breach of their collective isolation. His writing is greatly influenced by the poverty and illness of his youth. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Plague. His symptoms do not conform to those of the plague, so when he dies, Rieux marks him as a "doubtful case.". Tarrou writes of a performance of Gluck's Orpheus. He declares to his congregation that each of them should choose to be the one who stays behind. Complete summary of Albert Camus' The Plague. He maintains that his first sermon is still relevant. During Christmas, Grand is overcome with depression because it reminds him of his courtship with Jeanne. They are symbols of people. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. It entertains the fantasy that a loved one can be reclaimed from the jaws of death. 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. Meanwhile, Tarrou devotes a great deal of attention to Cottard in his notebooks. Camus presents Religion versus Plague. In The Plague, Camus addresses the collective response to catastrophe when a large city in Algeria is isolated due to an outbreak of the bubonic plague. Albert Camus's The Plague Chapter Summary. They respond to this isolation in differing ways. This represents the doubtful nature of Paneloux's understanding of human existence. Escaping to a performance of Orpheus is merely surrender to and denial of these dangers. Set in the North African French colony of Oran, the novel chronicles a recrudescence of the bubonic plague and the various ways … Although the effort to alleviate and prevent human suffering seems to make little or no difference in the ravages of the plague, Camus asserts that perseverance in the face of tragedy is a noble struggle even if it ultimately fails to make an appreciable difference. When his period of quarantine ends, Othon volunteers to remain in the camp to help out with the anti-plague effort because it would make him feel "less separated" from his son. Albert Camus's allegorical novel, The Plague , chronicles life — and epidemic death — in the Algerian city of Oran. Had it continued its killing, Rieux projects, carloads of bodies would have been dumped into the sea. Most of the papers concern the opening line to Grand's book, but one sheet contains an unfinished opening to a letter addressed to Jeanne. 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 actor playing the role of Orpheus forces his audience to recognize the real dangers facing them. They die in the streets, on playgrounds, in businesses…and then people follow suit. Detailed Summary & Analysis Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Get free homework help on Albert Camus' The Plague: book summary, chapter summary and analysis, quotes, essays, and character analysis courtesy of CliffsNotes. He is happier now that he no longer bears that burden alone. He argues against mute resignation because there is no excuse to give up the struggle. Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Plot Summary of “The Plague” by Albert Camus. Analysis Of Albert Camus 'BookThe Plague' 1424 Words | 6 Pages. In plague, like war, the suffering and death can take on such a massive scale that the mind balks at it. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis … Soon thereafter, Paneloux falls ill, but he refuses to consult a doctor. Deeply convinced that his lawyer-father was wrong to demand the death sentence for a criminal, and later disillusioned when his revolutionary party guns down former heads of state, Tarrou believes man is too frequently a party to murder. Grand often talks about Jeanne to Rieux; he, in turn, unburdens his worries about his own wife. The point made by this scene is that everyone is just as isolated while indulging in escapist rituals of entertainment as they are in their collective terror of death. The Plague, or La Peste in its original French, is a novel written by philosopher/writer Albert Camus in 1947. Cottard has always lived with a constant sense of fear. The announcement of death is paramount in Camus' philosophy and in his novels. He paid the expenses of his education with various odd jobs until a severe attack of tuberculosis forced him to drop out. His novel The Plague has recently garnered much worldwide attention do to the pandemic of 2020. Constant fear breeds distrust. 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 Plague Summary. However, his body of work suggests that within every human being there is an innate capacity for good, although many people never fully realize their potential. It is also true that he hardens his heart against the suffering of the plague victims, but it is not true that he is indifferent to their suffering. Plot Summary. Plot Summary. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. It was in wartime Paris that Camus developed his philosophy of the absurd--the assertion that life ultimately has no rational meaning. When the city can withstand no more, the plague begins to level off. The Plague Character Analysis | LitCharts. The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus that was first published in 1947. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs. Fighting the plague is an affirmation of the human will to survive while the paralysis of fear and escapism are acts of surrender. From the title, you know this book is about a plague. 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