A.Camus "The plague"
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|Introduction / Summary||3|
|Unbelief in unknown||4|
|Love, suffering and fighting||6|
|List of sources||10|
The novel “The Plague” was published in a 1947. Its author Albert Camus (born in 1913 in Algeria) is often mentioned as a writer who succeeded in capturing the absurdities that define the life of modern men and women. 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. 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.
Throughout his life, Camus was really concerned with the problem of human suffering in an indifferent world. 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. 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. Such catastrophes test the tension between individual self – interest and social responsibility.
Camus philosophy borrows a lot of ideas from the Existentialist movement. Similar to the Existentialists, Camus asserted that there is no intrinsic rational or moral meaning in the human existence. 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. Camus often challenged the validity of accepted moral paradigms, but he did not view the human character as a moral vacuum. Camus won a Nobel Prize in literature in 1957.
The most meaningful action within the context of “The Plague” of Camus’ philosophy is to choose to fight death and suffering.
Unbelief in unknown
On April 16 Dr. Rieux finds dead rat on the stairs in his building and asks the concierge to remove it. He does not think mush about this event although it seems unusual to find a rat there. Since then dead rats appear all over the town in large amounts.
A few days more people tried to act like it is not anything weird. Living their calm, monotonous and constant daily life they even could not concede that something could be out of the ordinary. Yet more nobody could not think about any unsafe here.
"... [In Oran] everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits. Our citizens work hard, but solely with the object of getting rich. Their chief interest is in commerce, and their chief aim in life is, as they call it, 'doing business.'"
Every day the number of dead rats increased. Step by step inhabitants started to worry a little. But still nobody had an idea that it could be some kind of evil. They were naive and undefended. When rats disappeared everybody felt relief but then a disaster started. Every day several persons became ill and further decease them took away. This affection was dreadful.
Superior institutions cannot do anything to make better this situation. Everybody is getting more and more scared. Doctors (including Dr. Rieux) are afraid of naming this disease, although they already suspect what t is and although people are dying every day.
Oran town’s peace is destroyed and it becomes overtaken by fear. What are they dread of?! I think that one of the most powerful fears is the fear of the unknown.
The hesitation of Rieux and the others to define the epidemic as the plague shows that they are resisting dealing with the disease as something real.
After special meeting the plague has now been called by its proper name but still no one wants to believe it is for real. People keep on living their lives as they normally would. The Prefect and the others who are responsible about the life in Oran mistake holding back announcing the plague over the town and adopting stronger measures.
“.. We tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, bad dream that will pass away. But it does not always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it s men who pass away…”
- A.Camus "The plague"
Author’s Image in "Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage" by George Gordon Byron
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