The plague causes suffering among the rich and the poor, the old and the young, and men and women. People are exiled physically from their loved ones and trapped inside the walls of Oran. No group is untouched. As the plague begins to ravage the populace, he asks Rieux to let him form volunteer squads. Our, LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in. The Plague by Albert Camus has many themes including exile and imprisonment. Confinement comes in many forms, the least of which is geographical. At its most basic, this philosophy holds that the universe is absurd and meaningless – there is no God or cosmic order – and that humans are doomed … Read a Plot Overview of the entire book or a chapter by chapter Summary and Analysis. He needed to account for the ways life was disrupted, for the lives that were lost, for the quiet acts of heroism, for the endurance and the resilience and the charity and the overwhelming will to live. Abstraction is seen as deadening oneself to reality and mankind, sticking with statistics or philosophies or doctrines, focusing too much on rules or theories or putative panaceas. Summary. The author was an existentialist philosopher who was also a journalist, a writer, and a member of the French Resistance to the Nazi occupation. The central irony in The Plague lies in Camus' treatment of "freedom." Paneloux initially sticks to standard Christian doctrine and sees the plague as God's censuring of human sin, but once he spends time on the ground among the ailing and the dying, he changes his understanding of his God. This is the very essence of existential angst which the novel is dedicated to portraying. The characters in the plague span these binaries, demonstrating the multifarious responses to a trauma like the plague. Both Rambert and Rieux appeared to be separated from the women they loved when Oran’s gates were closed. Camus is often considered an existentialist, but the philosophy he most identified with and developed was called absurdism. Osborne-Bartucca, Kristen. Humans suffer, and their suffering makes them the same, erasing boundaries to the point where men and women … Camus writes, "[it was] plague on the stage in the guise of a disarticulated mummer, and in the auditorium the toys of luxury, so futile now, forgotten fans and lace shawls derelict on the red plush seats" (201). The Plague concerns an outbreak of bubonic plague in the French-Algerian port city of Oran, sometime in the 1940s. A lot more an experience particular to person alone. The narrator remains unknown until the start of the last chapter, chapter 5 of part 5. Camus never experienced the plague or Covid-19 – he researched the topic extensively and somehow was able to portray an eerily accurate description of events, feelings and thoughts that are now all-too-known to us in 2020. The people of Oran deal with this meaningless suffering in various ways. The flagellants believed that selfpunishment for their sins might help save them from death as a result of the Plague. As an atheist, Rieux finds it unfathomable that a God could allow the suffering seen in the plague and still be considered loving. The quarantine is lifted, and the gates of the town are opened. In the beginning, the townspeople of Oran are still caught up in their own lives—their loves, their pursuits of leisure, their past and future, their unshakeable sense of themselves as the center of the universe. Deadly though it is, Covid-19 is not the imagined plague from Camus’ novel, nor is today’s world comparable to that of the 1940s. Rieux isn't a perfect narrator, and as a doctor he knows he cannot save everyone, but he can make sure he contributes to the collective memory. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through the author's distinctive The plague does not care about politics, money, power, past sufferings, or morality; it simply is, and it is all-encompassing. 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. GradeSaver, 9 June 2020 Web. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Camus develops a story with characters who’s brought together by the natural disaster. The Plague is essentially a philosophical novel, meaning that it forwards a particular worldview through its plot and characterization. Until we die. Albert Camus (1913 – 1960) was a French author and philosopher who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.His novel The Plague has recently garnered much worldwide attention do to the pandemic of 2020.As a philosopher familiar with Camus’ thought, I’d like to highlight the book’s main philosophical themes.But first a very brief plot summary. At first they try to ignore or downplay it, and then they see it as a personal antagonist separating them…, Despite the enormity of suffering and death in the world and the seeming omnipotence of the plague, there are instances of heroism and altruistic struggle as well. The plague itself is thematic. They are exiled from the past and the future, stuck in an interminable future. Albert Camus’ ‘The Plague’ and the Philosophy of Suffering, 2007. … The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. If we live as though a roof tile may fall on our heads at any moment (props to Kierkegaard for the example), we will no longer play passive victim to suffering and death. In earlier works—notably the play Caligula (pb. Camus presents both of these perspectives as valid, though his personal sympathy is with Rieux, and shows that every single person tries to come to terms with the plague whether it is through religion, philosophy, volunteering, suffering, or other methods and means. What was the status of life in Europe in terms of faith, technology, and trade before the Plague arrived? I finally comprehend that it is not necessary to understand a story to like it. Strange but it is true. It could also, of course, be the most concrete version of itself—a microbe, insidiously permeating every aspect of life and reminding people that they are subject to the forces of biology and nature just as much as they are subject to politics and economics. However, as the plague takes over everything, they lose that sense of uniqueness and individuality. They are emotionally estranged by the inability of language to convey the reality of what they are experiencing. There is only plague, and they are stuck in its void. Camus published The Plague in 1947, two years after the end of World War II. 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. The first-person narrator is unnamed but mostly follows Dr. Bernard Rieux. Judt, Tony. When conditions in Europe suddenly changed at the beginning of the 14th century, what did many people believe had come? The word exile means the state of being barred and expelled from one’s native country, typically for political or punitive reasons (dictionary.com). They are just like everyone else; they have no distinguishing characteristics. People's wishes, dreams, fears, philosophies, and plans are all proven irrelevant. Dr. Rieux is revealed to be the narrator of the story, telling readers his motivation for writing this "true account" was to document the "common suffering" he witnessed so that it would not be forgotten. The Plague tells the story of a town in quarantine for an outbreak of the plague. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, read analysis of Language and Communication. The location of Oran is utterly random yet the manner in which the plague plays out is utterly ruthless, almost as if it had been chosen by some greater power. 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. What was the philosophy of the “flagellants”? Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. The Plague can be regarded as an allegory of the Nazi occupation of Paris because of the circumstances regarding its publication. After all, we could all die at any moment. Albert Camus, in relation to this idea, delivered to the literary world his existentialist work, The Plague, a novel based upon the central theme of the inanity of human suffering and the profound individuality with the human experience. ALBERT CAMUS: THE PLAGUE OF ABSURDITY IN AN INTERVIEW published last year in the Book Review of the New York Times, Albert Camus explained that his latest novel is aimed at the existentialists, who, like the protagon-ist of The Fall, are possessed by a "mania for self-accusation, so that they can accuse others more easily." The Plague literature essays are academic essays for citation. At its most basic, this philosophy holds that the universe is absurd and meaningless – there is no God or cosmic order – and that humans are doomed … The plague that strikes Oran is thematically rich in its exploration of the absurd. Themes. It's a fictional story written about the very real town of Oran in Northern Algeria. The people believed the Blacl Death signaled the Biblical apocolypse. Now I'm sounding philosophical myself. The Plague is essentially a philosophical novel, meaning that it forwards a particular worldview through its plot and characterization. The Question and Answer section for The Plague is a great New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Imagination in the context of the Camus' plague means identifying with people, with giving into love and grief, with confronting the real. Abstraction is seen as deadening oneself to reality and mankind, sticking with statistics or philosophies or doctrines, focusing too much on rules or theories or putative panaceas. First, it demonstrates a way all the people in Oran are alike. The Plague by Albert Camus. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. Characterization in Albert Camus’ ‘The Plague’ and Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for … He and Rieux become close friends, and he confides in Rieux how his youth was shaped by his recognition that "plague" is in all men; that humans should not oppress or kill each other under any circumstances, even if crimes are committed; that he was an agitator and activist all around Europe; and that he is seeking … They all live in fear; anyone could come down with the plague at any moment. Camus is often considered an existentialist, but the philosophy he most identified with and developed was called absurdism. 9782806270160 29 EBook Plurilingua Publishing This practical and insightful reading guide offers a complete summary and analysis of The Plague by Albert Camus. Albert Camus published The Plague in 1947. Reading philosophical fiction back to back can have an impression on your thinking! The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Teachers and parents! Camus is often considered an existentialist, but the philosophy he most identified with and developed was called absurdism. Rieux notices the sudden appearance of dying rats around town, and soon thousands of … The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus that was first published in 1947. The Plague is the most thorough fictional presentation of Camus’s mature thinking. Within this new collectivity there is some comfort, but there is also an acute loss of what makes being alive so wonderful. Rambert and Rieux are both separated by the quarantine from the women they love, and Rambert, a foreigner, is exiled from his own home as well. Camus also describes the townspeople’s feelings of exile as the plague progresses: first everyone wants to speed up time and end the plague, or they work ceaselessly…, Instant downloads of all 1391 LitChart PDFs From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. The chronicle’s unknown narrator eventually reveals himself as Dr. Rieux, who has been trying to take a more detached view of the plague. We will live while we can. Eventually plague deaths begin to decline, and a new version of the serum seems to be effective. The Plague. The Plague is yet another book that I liked, despite the inability to fully understand the underlying themes. This novel reveals that the town in question isn’t really much more confined with its gates closed than it was when the people were free to come and go. Issues of confinement and exile are hugely important to the tale. "My students can't get enough of your charts and their results have gone through the roof." These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Plague. 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. Copyright © 1999 - 2021 GradeSaver LLC. Those who followed this movement were regarded as a dangerous threat to church authority. Many popular reading lists for the COVID-19 pandemic include The Plague, a 1947 novel by Albert Camus. Love for mankind drives some to sacrifice their own well-being in fighting for the good of society, while love for individuals threatens to do just the opposite. These “heroes” fit into his idea of Absurdism, as in…, 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. I find the author’s plot, tone, and theme for the story satisfied about understanding survival. The Plague makes the point that, really, this isn’t that terribly different from normal life. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Camus was born in Algeria, and his father died soon after his birth. Let’s define exile first and see how it relates to the text. resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. Being ripped asunder from their lovers, these two characters are bright examples of separation portrayed in the novel. It provides a thorough exploration of the novel’s plot, characters and main themes, including war, guilt and disease. He does not renounce his faith but sees his choice as all or nothing, as the complete relinquishment of any claim to answers or comprehension and instead the resting in God's ultimate mysteriousness. Characterization of The Plague In this book The Plague by Albert Camus, it’s interesting to read as this book is centered in the fiction genre. It cannot be helped. The themes of separation and alienation are strongly associated with Rambert and Rieux, who is known as the unique characters of Camus’ writing. Camus also describes the townspeople’s feelings of exile as the plague progresses: first everyone wants to speed up time and end the plague, or they work ceaselessly (like Rambert) to escape and rejoin their lost loved one, while later many citizens give up hope or live in fantasies of regret and longing. One of the most terrifying, incomprehensible, and deadening aspects of the plague is exile—in all its capacities. However, Camus’ The Plague, while ostensibly allegorical of the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, is also an allegory of human solidarity against social calamities. In the novel the bubonic plague is a symbol of many things – the harsh, meaningless universe, the human condition, or war – but all of them mean suffering and death. 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