The Existential View Of Absurdity in Camus' The Plague

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Absurdity, why does one event occur, yet the most obvious doesn’t? Many philosophers question absurdity and how it affects our everyday lives. But no matter how much it is analyzed, there is no explanation of the absurd. Even as pleasant as the world can be at times, there is no order and there is no reason for the events that occur. Albert Camus, the accomplished author of many amazing books knew about this idea and understood the meaning, which in turn influenced many of his great novels. One of his excellent novels, “The Plague,” exhibits the ideas of absurdity in many aspects. One being the idea of an absurd hero, or someone who realizes that the world lacks order, yet through that spectacular revelation continues through their respected life. Camus develops the characters in “The Plague,” to represent the characteristics of an absurd hero. One main character, Dr. Rieux is one of the best characters to describe the basis of the absurd hero. He understands that the world is absurd, but continues his work nonetheless. An absurd hero is developed by the six tenets of existentialism: anxiety, death, the void, existence precedes essence, absurdity, and alienation. These six tenets explain the overwhelming question, “Why do we exist?”. To understand why we exist, one must first question why the absurd happens. Camus did such. Camus develops the plot of his existential novel through a plethora of absurd events that boosts the overall theme of the novel. One example of this is how the town of Oran turns it back on the sea at random moments of time. This is very strange, why would a town that is isolated between the sea and a mountain range want to turn away from the one source of its salvation and one of the few ways it could connec... ... middle of paper ... ...dity. The timing of the rats arrival was random, the people who died were random. Everything about the plague was absurd and Dr. Rieux knew it, but continued his work either way. This is why Dr. Rieux is a perfect example of an absurd hero. At the end of the novel Dr. Rieux survives, and life slowly returns to normal in Oran. As Rieux said, even though the plague was over, the plague was really never over, it was never over. The rats would eventually come back and the events described would repeat themselves. Rieux understood this because he understood that the world was absurd and chaotic. Every event that happened didn’t need a reason, and it happened no matter what. All he could do is live in the moment and do his duties, and accept that absurdity is ever so present. This is the basis of an absurd hero, and Rieux is the prime example of an existential character.

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