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. People acted differently about the plague. He believed that faith in God would push him away from his fight for people. Camus did not believe in God, nor did he agree with the vast majority of the historical beliefs of the Christian religion. Rats and cats started appearing and it was the sign of the plague going away. Even though she was well protected from the plague she couldn’t survive her own illness.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'booksummary_net-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_18',120,'0','0'])); In the last storm of illness Tarrou died which upset Rieux a lot. After he lost his wife and a good friend he still managed to remain calm. Our summaries and analyses are written by experts, and your questions are answered by real teachers. He realized the fragility of people’s lives that despite everything keeps on lasting and renewing itself. Again Camus undercuts any feeling of heroism or victory in the retreat of the plague. Time: in the beginning on the novel it is stated that it’s chronological and it’s also mentioned that “everything happened in 194…”, Characters: Dr. Bernard Rieux, Raymond Rambert, Joseph Grand, Rieuxova wife and mother, landlord, Cottard, Jean Tarrou…. The funerals weren’t like they used to be and some families were placed into a quarantine. Organized into five sections, The Plague recounts the collective ordeal of Oran, Algeria, in the throes of an outbreak of bubonic plague. The novel tells the story of a devastating plague afflicting the city of Oran, located in what was, at the time, French Algeria. The authorities finally arrange for the daily collection and cremation of the rats. Word Count: 785. Support your case with evidence from the book. happiness is freedom... And the secret to freedom is courage” (Thucydides). The Plague concerns an outbreak of bubonic plague in the French-Algerian port city of Oran, sometime in the 1940s. It is … [more] about One Hundred Years of Solitude, Romeo and Juliette is an epic love story whose plot is set in a small Italian city Verona. Bernard Rieux – the main character of the novel through which the author stated his opinions. Summary The novel is set in the 1940s in the Algerian city of Oran. But Camus is structuring an irony. The novel “The Plague” by Albert Camus is composed of 5 parts. The misfortune brought people living on the edge of life closer together. ©2021 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Log in here. 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. In The Plague, did Rieux's wife pass away from the plague while she was in the sanatorium or other causes. In the first of two sermons strategically positioned in part 2 and part 4 of the five-part chronicle, Paneloux posits an anthropomorphic God who has sent the plague as retribution for human sin. The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story from the point of view of an unknown narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. Tarrou, a magistrate’s son who left home in revulsion over state executions, remains forever opposed to a scheme of things in which cruelty triumphs. The name of the person will be revealed in the end because the author wanted to stay objective until the very end. Albert Camus's The Plague Chapter Summary. Trapped within Oran after a quarantine is imposed are the novel’s principal characters: Bernard Rieux, a physician separated from the ailing wife he sent to a sanatorium before the outbreak of the plague; Raymond Rambert, a Parisian journalist on assignment in Oran; Jean Tarrou, a stranger who takes an active part in opposing the epidemic; Joseph Grand, a municipal clerk obsessed with composing a perfect sentence; Paneloux, a Jesuit priest who delivers two crucial sermons during the course of the plague; and Cottard, a black-market opportunist. Albert Camus, much like Nietzsche did not believe that death, suffering, or the human existence had any underlying moral or rational meaning due to the fact that he did not believe in God or even an afterlife for that matter. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. People couldn’t believe it was getting weaker because they learned how to live with it and they even stopped rejoicing about good news. 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. In the beginning everything was ordinary but with time people had to adjust to the disease. The Plague Summary. One day the doctor realized that his landlord was acting strange and when the symptoms like heavy breathing and swellings on his neck appeared the doctor got worried. As I write, the world collectively continues to bear the weight of the coronavirus pandemic; it wears on without clear end in sight. The Plague is a novel about a plague epidemic in the large Algerian city of Oran. Still no one had the courage to face the illness so the plot continued slowly. Through the use of allegory and point of view, Camus substantiates that when people are not aware of time and its advancing, they are wasting the … Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this The Plague study guide. eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. Dr. Bernard Rieux is the first to intuit that things are not right with the city when he notices a sudden spike in the number of dead rats around town. Dr. Rieux’ wife was ill so the doctor took her to a hospital and then went back to his routine of visiting his patients. First the rats are dying in the streets of the Algerian coastal city Oran, then the plague breaks out. Summary Of Albert Camus's The Plague 846 Words | 4 Pages. Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Rieux notices the sudden appearance of dying rats around town, and soon thousands of … Albert Camus’s novel The Plague (1947) is often cited as a classic of existentialism, though Camus himself refuted that classification. How does the theme of solitude manifest? In The Plague, how does religion affect the mind and decisions of the town? This particular plague happens in a Algerian port town called Oran in the 1940s. Mister Othon’s son also died and he decided to change then and join the community. He lost many people in his life but he won the battle that concerned all of the people of his community. After witnessing the agonizing death of an innocent child, however, Paneloux revises his theodicy to reconcile unmerited torment with belief in a logical and benevolent Providence. The city was placed into isolation and the life conditions changed abruptly. The Plague, by Albert Camus was first published in 1947. Soon after he was visited by Joseph Grand that wanted to tell him how he prevented an attempt of murder. An old man periodically comes out onto a balcony opposite Tarrou's hotel room to spit on the cats sunning themselves below. When a mild hysteria grips the population, the newspapers begin clamoring for action. You'll get access to all of the Why? Everything became different, the values changed and the things no one noticed before became significant. Under such circumstances, the flamboyant individualism that enlivens traditional fiction is inappropriate, and the novel, conceding that readers crave heroes, nominates the lackluster Grand, whose grandness resides in selfless, bootless dedication to writing a perfect sentence and ending the plague:Yes, if it is a fact that people like to have examples given them, men of the type they call heroic, and if it is absolutely necessary that this narrative should include a “hero,” the narrator commends to his readers, with, to his thinking, perfect justice, this insignificant and obscure hero who had to his credit only a little goodness of heart and a seemingly absurd ideal. The Plague by Albert Camus 1001 Words | 5 Pages. Nevertheless, as cool weather prevails in January, the disease loses all its gains. He kept on questioning his ethic and principles. It is the disease itself randomly disappearing, not the heroic humans defeating it through their medicine or struggle. Modern antibiotics are effective in treating it. In the meantime, the doctors’ mom came to take care of the household while his wife was absent due to her illness. life. In a 1955 letter to critic Roland Barthes, the author specified the terms of the allegory; “The Plague, which I wanted to be read on a number of levels, nevertheless has as its obvious content the struggle of the European resistance movements against Nazism. Dr. Rieux, ill himself, started to have difficulties in dealing with many assignments and problems so he often forgot about himself. The novel “The Plague” by Albert Camus is composed of 5 parts. Raymond Rambert suddenly realized that he was in love with a woman that lived outside town and wanted to go to her. Summary Though the plague seems to be abating, the people have not entirely given themselves over to jubilation. Oran is a simple city inhabited by ordinary citizens. Find summaries for every chapter, including a The Plague Chapter Summary Chart to help you understand the book. “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 author states some details of a pretty monotonous and ordinary lifestyle of a city placed in a province. The retreat of the plague is just as mysterious as its arrival – the doctors’ treatments have not changed, but they suddenly grow effective. Before too long, thousands of the creatures are making their way to the streets to die. He records conversations regarding the appearance of the mysterious illness in the wake of the dying rats. His trust in people was huge and in the end it brought him friends and helpers. The author gives us his opinion about the preposterousness of human’s existence if he doesn’t take care of others. He was getting worst by the minute and in the end he died. When the plague of dead rats entices the cats away, the little old man seems greatly disappointed. The Plague content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts. The first-person narrator is unnamed but mostly follows Dr. Bernard Rieux. His novel The Plague has recently garnered much worldwide attention do to the pandemic of 2020. He learns, however, that his lot is also Oran’s, and he stays in the city to make common cause with the victims of the plague. He listened to the joy and happiness on the streets of his city but thought that no one could ever know when the plague will be back to change and take numerous lives. The first part of the novel gives us an insight into the city’s life. The two of them also commented on the rats like all of the other citizens that would encounter each other on the streets. After that Jean Tarrou is introduced into the plot. When he saw the doctor being apart from his wife he felt ashamed and decided to stay. A young journalist from another city, Raymond Rambert, looked for the doctor because of a survey he was doing and the theme was the life conditions of the Arabs. Soon after, a news came about the death or Rieux’ wife. Many people join Rieux, including Rambert and Tarrou. In 1948, Stephen Spender wrote for the Book Review about Albert Camus’s “The Plague,” a novel about an epidemic spreading across the French Algerian city of Oran. Jean Tarrou The best friend of Rieux. The Plague Summary. The story follows up on a few characters that fought for life in a city were the death ratings have gone up. Healthy people avoided the ill and they got into more and more confrontations with the guards. He doesn’t run away from the plague like some characters because his duty was to take care of the ill. With creating this extremely humane character the author wanted to let us know that he is one of those that are dedicated to his calling to the point where they’re ready to neglect themselves in order to help the society. The end of the novel brings us the thoughts of Dr. Rieux. Soon the cases of dead rats piled up and the streets became flooded with them. Rats are emerging into the streets, where they move awkwardly in a sort of dance, then bleed … In the beginning we find out that the novel is a chronological diary. Take-Aways The Plague, published in 1947, was Albert Camus’ international breakthrough. The Plague is a novel written by Albert Camus, an ultimately bleak story about a terrible illness that swept through an unprepared town. In the unbearable situations people confided more and more to each other. Who is the narrator of The Plague? —Kim Willsher, The Guardian (“Albert Camus novel The Plague leads surge of pestilence fiction”) “[In The Plague], Camus’s canonical treatment of a fictional bubonic plague outbreak in the Algerian city of Oran, the Nobel laureate trained a piercing eye on life under quarantine, with … Nobody believed him because the plague was long gone from the civilized world. Rambert asked for their help to leave town as soon as possible but it didn’t work out for him so he stayed there. 559. The journalist thought that, since it wasn’t his town, no one knew how he felt and that he had every right to leave. The past cannot be restored all at once; destruction is easier than reconstruction. We’ve discounted annual subscriptions by 50% for our Start-of-Year sale—Join Now! In those moments everyone acts differently; some seek religious explanations, some scientific, some runaway and some make peace with the situation. 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