the plague by albert camus summary

resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. La Peste, the original French title of the novel, translates to The Plague in the American edition. He had a good relationship with his father, a prosecuting attorney. He then dies, and is marked as “Doubtful case.”. Around the end of October, it is time to try Castel’s anti-plague serum; for Rieux this is a last hope. Another doctor named Jean Tarrou is both tender-hearted and daring. He learns finally that he is to leave the following night at midnight. He is happy to be with the others instead of set apart from society. The ward is stiflingly hot even though fans whir above. They feel this abomination acutely, as this innocent child is literally dying in front of them. Although, most of the cultural points in this novel are based off of the authors own traditions and culture, the major things to focus on are the differences between history, culture, and religious beliefs between the novel and Oran, Algeria. It is clear thoughts of Jeanne are consuming him. As November ends, Tarrou goes with Rieux to visit the old asthma patient. After a long inoculation process, Rieux, Paneloux, Tarrou, Grand, and Dr. Castel gather to observe the effects. The climax of the novel occurs when Rieux, Tarrou, and Paneloux witness the intensely painful and grotesque suffering and death of the Othon boy. People seem less interested in reading the news when they once clamored for every scrap of it. The Plague literature essays are academic essays for citation. Rambert thanks him, then asks why he does not try to stop his going. The title refers to a terrible plague that strikes Oran, Algeria. He “took a horrified interest in legal proceedings, death sentences, executions” (248) and could not help knowing what his father’s role in such things—such murders—was. (Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images) They espy him standing in front of a shop window, tears coursing down his face. That Christmas is a mournful one for the town. Rieux meets with Othon after he gets out of the isolation camp, and the magistrate shocks him by saying he wants to return as a government volunteer, for it would be the only way to be close to his little boy. They feel free from the town and the plague, and are “conscious of being perfectly at one, and the memory of this night would be cherished by them both” (257). His mother came to live with him after his father died. No is even allowed to write letters lest the plague spread through the mail. 9782806270160 29 EBook Plurilingua Publishing This practical and insightful reading guide offers a complete summary and analysis of The Plague by Albert Camus. When Paneloux suggests that such a thing passes human understanding and they ought to love what they cannot understand, Rieux replies that he has a different conception of love and will never be able to love a scheme of things in which children are tortured. He says that no person can lift a finger without the risk of bringing death to someone else, and this is why everyone has plague. He tells Rieux to get his manuscript. Published in 1947, The Plague focuses on the character of Bernard Rieux, a doctor in Oran. Full Title: The Plague Author: Albert Camus Year: 1947 Genre: Fiction, Novel Publisher: Vintage International ISBN 0-679-72021-9 (trade paperback) Wikipedia page; Author’s Wikipedia Page Summary. When Rieux mentions this to Tarrou later, Tarrou says it makes sense, for if Paneloux wants to hold on to this faith he will do so until the end. At first, everyone is in denial. Predictions from soothsayers and prophets and references to Nostradamus are common; they seem comforting to the people, especially when they predict the plague’s end. With the wind howling outside, Paneloux says his choice is to believe everything so he does not deny everything. Tarrou asks if Rieux might take an hour off for friendship, and Rieux smiles yes. Critic Andrea Lesic-Thomas confirms this assessment, writing that “Camus makes Paneloux face the logical paradox of the presence of suffering inflicted by a good and just God, bringing him to the realization that the only way of continuing to be a believing Christian is to believe without understanding and without judging.” Unfortunately, that also means he “really abandons himself to the divine will—and it swallows him. The loudspeakers announce that it is mealtime and the inmates shuffle to their tents. Suffice it to say, they are all feared and despised. He is happy to be swept with the herd toward pleasure, happy to live in the present moment. Tarrou concludes. Paneloux sits with him and agrees that they are both working for salvation. Right as Rieux is about to flee from not being able to take it anymore, it stops. Tarrou did not leave home immediately but he finally did so. Albert Camus (/ k æ ˈ m uː / kam-OO, US also / k ə ˈ m uː / kə-MOO, French: [albɛʁ kamy] (); 7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960) was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. People immediately react to their sudden isolation by yearning for their loved ones outside Oran. What was the status of life in Europe in terms of faith, technology, and trade before the Plague arrived? The majority of the people are sitting on the stands, while others loll about or walk around listlessly. This is the case of the simple public officer named Grand. Paneloux is faced with a crisis of faith, for, as critic Thomas Hanna explains, “either he maintains his faith that God is the ultimate ruling force in the universe, bringing good out of the evil which he allows to afflict man, or else he takes his place with Dr. Rieux, Tarrou, and all the rebels of the earth in maintaining that this evil and this death are unbearable and that either there is no God and men must ceaselessly struggle with their single powers against the plague of life or else, if there be a God, he is a murderous, unjust, and incomprehensible being who is the supreme enemy of men.”, Paneloux ultimately has to choose all instead of nothing, to believe everything instead of denying everything. Surprised, Rieux asks about his wife. Rambert waits and then bursts out in confusion that they are not responding. The Myth of Sisyphus. Rieux smiles that he is working for health. His flesh is wasted; his position is a “grotesque parody of crucifixion” (215). When he was young he lived with a sense of his innocence and fortuitousness. Rambert understands, but awkwardly repeats his request. Rieux suggests they go home, but Grand frantically runs away, then falls onto the ground, clearly ill. Tarrou and Rieux take him home, and as he has no family, they decide to let him stay in his home instead of being evacuated. Rieux warns him that Monsieur Othon remarked that Rambert ought to be careful about associating with smugglers, and he ought to hurry up. He says goodbye. This old woman is honored by his presence but comes to be annoyed with his fatigue and his reticence. What was the philosophy of the “flagellants”? He tells of his conviction that his belief in certain principles or systems in his life contributed to the death of thousands, no matter how indirectly. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Plague. The men sit, grateful for the pleasant spot. While Tarrou is far from being the monster that Cottard is, he still ultimately retains an abstract response to the plague. Tarrou is fine but his diary entries have lost their depth and diversity; he seems mostly interested in Cottard. The Plague tells the tale of a fictional outbreak of plague in the real city of Oran, Algeria — the same country where author Albert Camus was born. The motto of the novel quotes Daniel Defoe and it thus turns the events presented in the novel into a parable of the common man's fight with evil, which he defeats only temporarily. He was a human being and though he was a criminal, he was to be killed. Some of them break small rules, and “the energy they devoted to fighting the disease made them all the more liable to it” (194). He finds Tarrou in his office, who tells Rambert he is reluctant to let him in because he is trying to spare Rieux as much as possible. The authorities finally arrange for the daily collection and cremation of the rats. His father had a peculiarity, which was that he was a “walking timetable” (246) who knew every distance and arrival and departure time between cities in Europe. He thinks everyone must be careful not to infect others, not to lapse in attention. He cannot get comfortable and stares straight ahead into the void in between paroxysms. A young deacon tells him the Father is working on an even more radical pamphlet—that it is illogical for a priest to call a doctor. At this time Paneloux has to move out of his room and take lodgings with a parishioner. In the beginning we find out that the novel is a chronological diary. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Summary. The Question and Answer section for The Plague is a great They should not give up, but grope their way through the dark if they must and do what good they can. However, the only thing Tarrou could focus on was the criminal, who was most definitively a man. He is under immense strain and is prone to excesses of sentimentality and musings about Jeanne. The Plague is considered an existentialist classic, despite Camus' objection to the label. GradeSaver, 9 June 2020 Web. For the Christian, he says, the ultimate choice is to believe everything or deny everything. He feels no peace but wants to find it somehow. He tells Rieux about what firing squads are really like, what abuses men really carry out against other men. Dr. Castel is showing much wear and tear, which brings a lump to Rieux’s throat. The mess starts when rats everywhere die. The gods watch the unfolding calamity with arms folded either unwilling or unable to do anything. Rieux hesitates but Grand repeats his request in an agonized tone, so Rieux complies. Find summaries for every chapter, including a The Plague Chapter Summary Chart to help you understand the book. This is more contagious and more fatal. Rambert runs a quarantine station at the hotel and Grand is dealing with the facts and figures that come his way. Non-American Author Research: The Plague by Albert Camus The Plague by Albert Camus is a novel that forms themes around human suffering, greed, and religion. He starts to write during the appearance of a new ideological movement, that of existentialism. In this section, nearly all of the characters undergo psychological and/or physical crises. Paneloux hesitates, and stands. Nobody is up there. She suggests calling a doctor but he refuses. Tarrou notes that they all have vacant gazes and seem to have forgotten what life really means. Rieux feels his own sensibility is problematic, as he has hardened everything so he can carry on. He confides to Rieux that one night he went to the upper part of town and screamed his wife’s name, but other than that, he is quietly biding his time. Tarrou’s diary paints a picture of the man who seems to be “blossoming” (195). Rieux takes the boy’s pulse and silently urges it to match his own. People seem less interested in reading the news when they once clamored for every scrap of it. Grand falls ill with the plague and anguishes over the futility of his manuscript. She does not care for herself she later says, but feels responsible for the Father. Some might say this smacks of fatalism, but to him it is an “active” fatalism. The Plague, which propelled Camus into international celebrity, is both an allegory of World War II and a universal meditation on human conduct and community. Introduced as a surgeon, and is one of the first urge action to be taken The book actually presents us the evolution of the community as the terrifying disease spreads its poison. Tarrou gives an account of a visit he and Rambert pay to a camp in the municipal stadium on the outskirts of town. Rieux is baffled. Tarrou would visit his mother occasionally and saw his father, but they were not close. Dr. Benard Rieux- About 35 years. When conditions in Europe suddenly changed at the beginning of the 14th century, what did many people believe had come? Paneloux is killed by an aporia.”. Grand turns his back. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through the author's distinctive absurdist point of view. Things went well for him. Outside, he feels like screaming curses. It the beginning, he is rather on the side of resignation and accepting the plague as a divine punishment, but he ends up joining the fight, also with the use of his spiritual weapons. The struggle, we are told, is a struggle between abstractions and happiness for each man. Othon asks Rieux to save his son, and agrees to the accommodations proposed—a room for Madame Othon and the little girl, and an isolation camp at the municipal station for Othon. Paneloux looks at him with warmth and a sad smile, and says priests can have no friends as they’ve given their all to God. He is a representative of silent and discrete suffering and unconditional commitment to the fight he willingly joins. Cottard, of course, is still a picture of contentment. They can see the horizon and the sea meeting in a dim blur, stars sparkling, and the lights of the lighthouse flashing. Yet he is taken away by the plague, and the pneumonic version of the plague is spreading quickly. The Fall. The people believed the Blacl Death signaled the Biblical apocolypse. One day Tarrou’s father invited him to hear him speak in court. The child has passed. They meet with the tired man, who asks if his son suffered. It provides a thorough exploration of the novel’s plot, characters and main themes, including war, guilt and disease. The announcement of death is paramount in Camus' philosophy and in his novels. It is founded on the sacrifice of the innocent and the acceptance of this sacrifice” (quoted in Hanna). Camus researched various plagues throughout history in order to prepare for his fictionalised account of an epidemic consuming the Algerian coastal town of Oran one April. Paneloux joins Rieux and asks why there was anger in his voice, for what happened to the child was just as unbearable to him. The curve has seemingly flattened, and Dr. Richard proclaims this a high-water mark. Most of these men have seen children die before but not watched one’s agony minute by minute. In this section we also come to know more about Tarrou, who expatiates on his history and his past and present motivations. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. Tarrou writes of a time he and Cottard see a performance of Orpheus and Eurydice put on by a traveling company stuck in the town. First the rats are dying in the streets of the Algerian coastal city Oran, then the plague breaks out. While many attempt to flee the city, Dr. Bernard Rieux sends his sick wife away and does his best to care for the plague's victims. The music stops and the show ends, and the audience files out in confusion and dismay, then moving faster and faster in their revulsion. The Plague is a novel about a plague epidemic in the large Algerian city of Oran. Plague cannot be kept out, not even in the civilized confines of the arts. In 1947, when he was 34, Albert Camus, the Algerian-born French writer (he would win the Nobel Prize for Literature ten years later, and die in a car crash three years after that) provided an astonishingly detailed and penetrating answer to these questions in his novel The Plague. 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. This All Souls’ Day is much different than past ones. She is struck, she narrates later, by his restlessness. He does not believe anymore that the plague is punishment for the sins of the people, but it is still mysterious beyond man’s measure and ultimately one must trust in God regardless of the inscrutability of His plan. The cemeteries are unvisited, as the dead are no longer thought of as the forsaken who must be visited once a year; rather, they are intruders. He speaks of how all trials work together for good for the Christian, how nothing on earth is more horrible than the suffering of a child and we naturally seek to understand it and reason with it. Raymond Rambert, the journalist is separated from his beloved lady, and the death illustrated by the omnipresence of rats makes this character do anything to try to save himself from this disease. The irony increases when we realize that plague initially isolated Oran from the outside world. He has no illusions anymore, and his four hours of sleep do not lend themselves to sentimentality. Rieux is bending over a patient, lancing the groin. He remains for several weeks. Rieux apologizes and says he is weary and the only feeling he has sometimes is revolt. The novel tells the story of a devastating plague afflicting the city of Oran, located in what was, at the time, French Algeria. It is an entertaining piece until the very end, when the actor playing Orpheus seems more and more overcome and falls grotesquely down. 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. And Rieux grapples with the nature of God, suffering, and love as the plague rages around him but then, by the end of the section, begins to wane. Unfortunately, this doctor becomes a plague's victim. He tells Rieux how he came to see the death penalty as a fundamental evil and thus spent many years as an agitator. By noon there is no change for the worse, and by nightfall it is clear he is fully out of danger. He sits wearily on the bench. There is no cheer, no celebrating. Summary Read a Plot Overview of the entire book or a chapter by chapter Summary and Analysis. Filing out with the others, Rieux is of the opinion the sermon was more uneasy than powerful. The stadium is surrounded by high walls and now sentries, giving the impression of people being forcibly hidden from society. Since he, Tarrou observes, “has learned what it is to live in a constant state of fear, he finds it normal that others should come to know this state. Albert Camus is a famous and complex personality of French culture. The Plague, a novel written by Albert Camus and published in 1947 has a large cast of colorful characters that help tell the story of people dealing with plague and quarantine in the town of Oran. As Tarrou and Rambert leave, Tarrou sighs that one feels like he must help Othon, but what can one do for a judge? Once they do become aware of it, they must decide what measures they will take to fight the deadly disease. Tarrou experienced poverty after he left his wealthy home. Rambert chooses to stay in Oran even though he can get out, realizing he needs to choose a love for the collective rather than a personal love. When a mild hysteria grips the population, the newspapers begin clamoring for action. Tarrou loved quizzing his father and seeing how skilled he was. The Plague. 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