Theme Of Heroism In The Plague By Albert Camus

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The interesting concept of the absurd hero is classically presented by the author, Albert Camus in many of his novels, including The Plague. An absurd hero is a person who does what he has to do regardless of whether or not he can control that situation. Dr. Rieux, a physician in the plagued town, for example, still performs his job daily and just as diligent as he ever has, instead of caving in to the worry and fear that his town experiences because of this widespread epidemic. Camus uses this concept of the absurd hero to develop the four main characters, Tarrou, Rambert, Grand, but especially Dr. Bernard Rieux.

Dr. Rieux is absolutely an absurd hero because he does what he has to do. He still works as a doctor instead of hiding in fear, hoping to not get the plague like many other of the citizens. Of course, he does not want to fall ill, but he knows that should not stop him from completely ignoring his duties. Unlike many of his fellow citizens who just cowered in their home, he realizes his responsibility and lived up to his specific duty. Everyone’s belief was that the whole city is condemned to die, which was influenced by the priest's sermon, stating this is punishment for the sins of the townspeople, but Dr.Rieux ignored that and stayed to fight. "There's no question of heroism in all this. It's a matter of common decency. That's an idea which may make some people smile, but the only means of fighting a plague is – common decency." (Camus, The Plague). He does not give up and he does not show weakness. Dr. Rieux has a very similar personality to the character Sisyphus in The Myth of Sisyphus. Sisyphus is sentenced to roll a rock to the top of the mountain and then watch it roll back down, for eternity. “Man...

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...ainst the plague, show it who’s boss. This is good because it shows his persistence and how good his moral character is. Dr. Rieux’s absurd personality is a main contributor as his role as an absurd hero in The Plague.
The concept of the absurd hero clearly displays the development of the main character, Dr. Bernard Rieux. Through his slim chances of changing the present, his maintaining of existentialist integrity, and his absurd personality, comes the perfect absurd hero. Dr. Rieux is a true fighter for what he believes in is best for everyone else, his fellow citizens. He is not selfish nor rude. He is not conniving nor sceptical. He knows exactly what the future brings, more death from the plague, but that does not stop him from doing his purpose in life, to help the sick. He is an unlikely hero, but he sure does prove himself worthy of the “hero” title.

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