Human Nature and Condition in The Plague by Albert Camus

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Albert Camus was a French writer who was very well known all over the world for his different works but especially with the idea of “absurdism”. Camus believed that something that was absurd was not possible by humans or logically. It was beyond ridiculous and therefore impossible. This was the basis of one of his most famous works, The Plague. The Plague is a novel that explores aspects of human nature and condition, destiny, God, and fate. The novel is about a plague that takes place in Oran, Algeria that is fictional, but it’s believed to be relatively based on a cholera outbreak in the mid 1800’s in Oran that killed thousands of people. Dr. Bernard Rieux is the protagonist but also is the narrator. However, he doesn’t admit to being the narrator until the end of the novel. Camus writes in the beginning that the instances in Oran are being told by witnesses of the plague. In The Plague, Camus wants his audience to read the book unbiasedly not knowing the narrator in order to take sides with the characters that one wants to and not to be persuaded by the narrators telling of the events.
In the novel, the people of Oran are ignorant and selfish by thinking that a fatal plague or epidemic would never harm them. When it does though, everyone goes ballistic and can’t understand why it is happening to them. Dr. Rieux is one of the main people that decided to do something about it. He is a doctor that sees some of the first signs of the plague early on. Being one of the first that acknowledges the problem as a plague came with disagreements amongst everyone. No one believed that there was a plague in their city and couldn’t recognize that they were all in serious danger. As days go by and the death toll increases dramatically, the ci...

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...ne would have probably read about Rieux hating Paneloux. It is the exact same with Paneloux and if he was the narrator. The novel would have been all about God and how to pray for help.
Dr. Rieux is the strongest character in The Plague because he was able to distance himself from the events of the plague and not allow his feelings and beliefs sway the reader’s outlook on the plague. This shows tremendous engagement strength by Rieux because he could focus working on ending the plague while also telling a story and not being completely objective to the terrible experiences that he went through. He was in a very stressful environment that would drive most doctors insane. Dr. Rieux didn’t go insane but was a professional about his job. Camus’ best decision about writing this novel was making sure that the reader didn’t know that Rieux was the narrator until the end.

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