Tarrou says that the doctors are becoming accountants. Medical aid grows more meager. The authorities declare martial law. From now on small notices go up in inconspicuous parts of town, asking citizens to follow decent hygiene rules as well as to report the occurrence of fleas and unusual fevers to the authorities. There seemed to be no choice and he says that he has not examined yet why he did it. Castel survives, but with efficient irony the plague disposes of Richard, the optimistic doctor. The notebook passages concerning one of the isolation camps has an interesting twist. The slow-paced, relaxed style also contains fewer contrasts of opposites. Castel's serum gives him additional strength to endlessly scream in protest against the invisible death that burns and bites into his flesh. Yet soon enough, the town is invaded by a repulsive mass of dying rats, often spurting blood and giving off agonizing death-cries in their last moments. Plague offered crucial questions that had to be answered. Beauty, after being charred by the summer, surrounds the city of pestilence. However, fearing an eventual left-wing revolutionary takeover, he carefully kept the Communists at arms’ length and orchestrated the liberation of Paris in August 1944 to take sole credit for it. Finally, Rieux’s friend Tarrou, a nonlocal of private means, organizes a group of volunteers to help the doctors, who are already teetering at the brink of collapse. Everything is ready to go. His helping Rieux stems from the monumental emergency situation and from his friendship and respect for the doctor. Major Themes in Albert Camus's The Plague. His logic is this: if man is ill, then that illness is a part of God's plan. Rambert, it seems, expected a sermon from Rieux; he wanted urging. Rieux, following his conscience, cannot; he must act regardless of accidental blunders. Camus is often considered an existentialist, but the philosophy he most identified with and developed was called absurdism. The motif of separation is once again used in this chapter. The mess starts when rats everywhere die. Rambert. Paneloux, because of the extreme philosophy in his second sermon, is even touched by this quality of the exile. His animal-like qualities include the importance of sex to him. Rieux agrees with his much older colleague Dr. Castel that it can be nothing other than plague. After the first month of plague, the church authorities organize a week of prayer. The plague in question afflicted Oran in the 1940'2; and on one plane the book is a straightforward narrative. His convictions gained him a pariah status within the French Left in the last decade of his life. Before too long, thousands of the creatures are making their way to the streets to die. They'll have to walk, might fall behind, and perhaps perish in the heat and fever of Oran's desert. Finally, the Prefect receives an order to proclaim a state of emergency and close the town. He has realized that death is not a symbolic angry fist in the heavens and he reminds his audience of its tangible presence. 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. But he deferred this scene until the reason for presenting it was crucial. It seems as if the plague has been cornered and has suddenly lost its force. On the blackboard, like a Camus crest, is a half-obliterated equation. They are a strange kind of trinity: Paneloux, Rieux, and Tarrou. A teacher discovered his talent and convinced the reluctant family that Albert should apply for a scholarship to pursue higher education. Another former patient, the modest and underpaid municipal clerk Joseph Grand, calls him because of his neighbor’s failed suicide attempt: Cottard has rather ambivalently tried to hang himself. It especially examines Dr. Rieux's responses to the exhausting spiritual and physical fatigue. Neither man asks for resignation and both desire active acts of faith. Castel starts to develop a vaccine based on the local variety of the plague bacillus, Grand acts as a general secretary to the squads, keeping the statistics of the disease, and even Father Paneloux ends up joining the effort. At the start of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, demand was so high that, “On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn’t the real point. What more could they ask for? His bare chest is described as glistening with sweat, like polished wood, as he paces. Their serum supply and its effectiveness is "running out of gas." Just before Christmas, Rieux catches Grand in front of a shop window with tears in his eyes: The old clerk remembers his early and happy days with his young wife, who left him after a few years of unfulfilled hopes. I know only human beings.” Although Camus never explicitly said so, he was likely inspired by their humanity – tellingly, the village doctor in Chambon was a man named Rioux. If the plague was focused on the action, the Fall for its analysis of the theme of inaction and its consequences. The book was published in 1947 and is considered one of the most important works by Camus. But there is something that still has a meaning.” That something, among other things, is to resist injustice, help your community and alleviate human suffering. If the church becomes distasteful, they turn to nature's logic and to mathematical chances and schemes. Rieux even talks to Grand of his personal feelings, something he has never done before. Tarrou visits the stadium with Rambert and Gonzales, two former football players, and the contrasts between the past and the present are more evident because of the presence of these men. Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. In 1957, at almost 44, the Algerian-born Camus became the second youngest Nobel Prize winner ever. Soon he rose in the ranks of activists fighting the same cause, until he discovered that they, too, were sanctioning death, claiming that they were only doing this to build a new system devoid of murder. Despondency naturally begins to give way to envy and protests. Tarrou's plan of the civilian sanitary squads was conceived because of the plague's dramatic emergency. The only improvement seems to be the clean shine of the cold air. He asks for complete belief in God or else a complete denial of God, an All or Nothing proposition. And, more importantly, what to do in such a nightmarish situation? Of all Camus’ novels, none described man’s confrontation – and cohabitation – with death so vividly and on such an epic scale as La Peste, translated as The Plague. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis … Paneloux's acknowledging that God is testing man's faith is akin to Rieux's viewing the plague as a test of one's humanity and integrity. It has forced Grand to reconsider his entire past, particularly his lost marriage and the values of his present daily living; it has tested Dr. Rieux's belief and devotion to his job of keeping Oran alive and it has also revealed his human failings. 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. Because Tarrou aids Rieux, he is often confused with the doctor. And although the death rate among burial workers is high, the list of applicants is long – at this point many fear hunger more than plague. For the first time, he belongs; he has a niche in the human condition. Tarrou's realization that even idealistic social revolutions shoot down the old order hardened his resolve never to harm another human being. Even Rieux and his friends briefly join the crowds. Confrontation with such extreme disaster might strike down a man with alert senses and sentiment. Although Rambert still retains some hope of escape, there are hints in the chapter that foreshadow his decision to stay. In August, tensions edge up a notch, since the plague is moving from the crowded outskirts to the center of town. When his nerves at last shatter, he runs toward the sea crying to his wife and this release of emotion is his last genuine grasp for happiness. Paneloux asks that his congregation pray for a completion of the divine will, and in the meantime to trust completely in God's plan for good. Having moved to Paris in 1943, he joined the Resistance as chief editor of the influential clandestine newspaper Combat. Two days later the man is dead. and any corresponding bookmarks? And once at work he no longer supervised quiet last rites. At present, the priest is visibly shaken by the ordeal; Rieux's anger disturbs him, and although he answers the doctors dogmatically, the boy's death will ferment within him and he will reconsider Rieux's angry assertion that because of the child's innocence they have been joined and bonded. Dr. Bernard Rieux The surgeon — narrator of The Plague.. Jean Tarrou The best friend of Rieux.His notebooks are used as part of the chronicle. She too understands why he must return to his wife: the girl is pretty, Rambert is sensual; he does not believe in God, man must worship and believe in something — even if it is no more than a girl, himself, and their love. Chapter 20 is crucial to Rambert's integrity. Wasn’t plague a thing of the past, something that befell only the poor and underdeveloped? His revolt against death and disease is a kind of madness, he says, but he insists on the child's innocence. Previously the city has been indiscriminately attacked. In that same audience may be a woman who knows that she is wearing the most expensive diamonds there. All of these characters are called to Othon's home to watch a last-resort experiment of Dr. Castel's new serum on the boy. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue.”. His faith in divine vengeance is worn thin by the time he witnesses the death of M. Othon's child. The symbol is that of the German occupation of France against which Camus fought so heroically during the war. An educated atheist and an illiterate Catholic mother elect to stay in Oran, yet they understand Rambert's desire to leave and will not damn him for preferring personal happiness. Paneloux was not alone in questioning his faith. Word Count: 311. Then he suggests to his friend to go out for a swim in the sea. Text Complexity; ... View on SparkNotes Share. Still, the chronicle of the plague outbreak is only the first of many narrative layers and multiple meanings in this novel. 1948 ( Hamish Hamilton, English) 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. There is also a feeling of futility. Removing #book# Still, some took the stance of “refus absurde” (Jean Cassou) – refusing to accept the inevitable. At the same time, he questions whether or not in the face of this growing futility, his decision to send his wife to a faraway mountain sanitarium was wise. He has been as steadfast in his struggle to cure as Rieux has been. The narrator remains unknown until the start of the last chapter, chapter 5 of part 5. No divine equation is possible, and so the logic of equations is almost obliterated. Part IV closes with the ambiguity of the rats' return, but the implications are clear: rats are able to live again in Oran. by Kent Heckenlively and Judy Mikovits | Feb 21, 2017. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. Camus, of course, was himself troubled with Tarrou's dilemma. To keep house during her absence, his mother will join him soon. Camus himself suggested reading the novel at “several levels,” having woven his philosophic ideas about the human condition and the Absurd between the lines, for example when Rieux explains to Rambert why he can’t help him sneak out of town to reunite with the love of his life: “Oh, I know it’s an absurd situation, but we’re all involved in it, and we’ve got to accept it as it is.”. But this is Rieux's mind talking and he confesses that he has contradicted his statement by his actions. Finally, the town’s gates are opened again in the fifth part, lovers are reunited at last, and the unnamed narrator sums up his observations. Paneloux has seen such a variety of undeserved dying that he affirms the rightness of such suffering by joining the victims in their role in God's plan. Autumn is mild; a cool breeze replaces the hot shrill whistling of summer and the light is no longer blinding. enjoys a sensual life and it is important to realize that Rieux understands this desire. The man begs the doctor not to report the incident to the police, but Rieux says it’s his duty to do so. Living has been easy; this phase is for rededication. [The Plague] [by: Albert Camus] Albert Camus. The utmost in abominable evil is exactly what he is witnessing: the suffering of a young innocent child — conclusive proof for him that the universe is irrational and indifferent to man. This isn't the desire of a recluse but of a man who needs a time-out. Summary Read a Plot Overview of the entire book or a chapter by chapter Summary and Analysis. The numbers of daily deaths is rising exponentially, and the anti-plague serum from Paris is late in arriving. As a contrast, Cottard, from Tarrou's notebook sketches, is presented, still happy and smiling. After the chapter describing the mass burials, Chapter 21 is probably next most successful in catching our sympathy for the plague victims. Still, this wasn’t enough to lighten Camus’ often somber mood: “My book is selling like a sob story for young girls,” he griped. After German troops occupied all of France in November 1942, the Resistance eventually united behind de Gaulle. With quiet terror and acquiescence contract the plague ” by Albert Camus in 1947 is... The marriage failed miserably visits the old order hardened his resolve never to harm human. Same time the first time since the beginning of the suffering period. `` he... 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