Essay PreviewMore ↓
Understanding The Plague
The Plague, written by Albert Camus, is a triumph of literary craft. Camus created a commentary on the way humans react to trying situations and circumstances in his fictional city of Oran in North Africa. The reader is presented with Oran as a city of several hundred thousand people. All of whom seem to take life for granted. The people of Oran ar constantly driven by business or money and only stop for life's finer pleasures on the weekends. A fairly accurate parallel to today's world. When an outbreak of plague begins in Oran, nobody pays attention at first. When the problem becomes too big to be ignored, the city is taken somewhat by surprise and placed under quarantine. The city remains isolated from the outside world for over a year, and when the outbreak reaches its peak, hundreds are dying every day.
The main characters in the story are Dr. Rieux, Cottard, Tarrou, Grand, and Rambert. Rieux is the narrator (although he does not reveal himself as the narrator until the end of the story). Through Rieux's eyes and Tarrou's Journal entries , Camus depicts a personal and completely lifelike view of a major catastrophe. The was Camus creates such a quiet masterpiece of literature is not by reading death statistics and important events; it is by his focus on the individuals involved in the crisis.
The most striking feature of the novel is actually very sublime. The way Camus approaches the unthinkable catastrophe of the plague is actually the opposite of the way the media in society today reports and enjoys to hear about such catastrophes. It is much easier to deal with disasters in numbers. Today's public wants to hear a comforting '250 dead today' instead of hearing about the people who died agonizing deaths and the people who love them, being forced into quarantine before the bodies are cold. Camus forces the reader to see the brutal realities of the plague, not merely in blood and gore, but also in the subtle and profound changes that occur in the people of Oran. The way Camus does this is by his never-ceasing emphasis on individual people and not the masses of the town as a whole.
At the beginning of the novel, people were reluctant to recognize the plague as something that would change their lives. They thought it was simply a passing inconvenience.
How to Cite this Page
"Understanding Albert Camus' The Plague." 123HelpMe.com. 23 Apr 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Existentialism and The Plague In the mid 1940s, a man by the name of Albert Camus began to write a story. This story he called La Pesté. Written in French, the novel became extremely popular and has since been translated numerous times into many languages. This story has been read over and over, yet it tells more than it seems to. This story tells the tale of a city gripped by a deadly disease. This is true enough, but this is not what the novel is about. The Plague can be read as an allegory of World War II, of the French Resistance against German Occupation.... [tags: Albert Camus Plague Essays]
3953 words (11.3 pages)
- As a Christian speaking to the people of Oran, it would be very difficult to say anything to a people facing such terrible affliction. Even though Father Paneloux believed what he was preaching, I believe he was completely wrong. This would make what I would say much different from what Father Paneloux said. However, some strong points did emerge from his sermons. Overall, the two sermons in Albert Camus’ The Plague fail to help people become more faithful and fail to even preach to the people of Oran the truth.... [tags: Albert Camus, faith, sermon, Oran, God]
1044 words (3 pages)
- Albert Camus’ The Plague is an influential existentialist novel that vividly depicts the impact of a plague have on a community. Set in the French Algerian city of Oran in the 1940s but based on the Black Plague that swept Europe in the Middle Ages, Camus draws on a large cast of character to portray and embody the historical impact that the plague on both the populace and society. Uniting the experiences of the various characters is Doctor Rieux, who play the role of a plague chronicler, and in the process demonstrates the impact of the plague on religion, social structures, and community morals.... [tags: Black Death, Bubonic plague, Middle Ages]
1724 words (4.9 pages)
- The Plague by Albert Camus takes place in an Algerian city known as Oran. Rats that are infected with a vicious disease known as “the plague” invade the city and nearly wipe out half of the population. This disease takes a toll on the citizens of Oran, which make them turn on each other and for some, they question the existence of God. Religion plays a huge roll in The Plague and Camus speaks through his characters and incorporates his views on religion. Camus uses Father Paneloux, the priest in the city, to argue whether or not God is the reason for this chaos.... [tags: Albert Camus, Absurdism, The Plague, God]
1742 words (5 pages)
- Albert Camus' Philosophy in The Plague To know ourselves diseased is half our cure. - Alexander Pope As the title clearly suggests, the novel The Plague is, indeed, a story of disease. On the surface, the novel The Plague, may be an accounting of facts detailing the outbreak of bubonic plague in the town of Oran. But on a deeper level, it is a novel that reveals awareness and acceptance of the limits of human existence. And it is also a reminder of our absurd freedom and the choices we make in life, especially when facing death.... [tags: Albert Camus Plague Essays]
2837 words (8.1 pages)
- Finding Meaning in Albert Camus’ The Plague Socrates, a Greek philosopher, once said that “the unexamined life is not worth living” (Apology 38b). Like Socrates, Albert Camus believed that a man needs to live meaningfully. In his novel The Plague Camus creates characters who are forced to think, reflect, and assume responsibility for living as they battle an epidemic of bubonic plague that is ravaging the Algerian port of Oran. For ten months as the outbreak isolates the city from the rest of the world, each of the citizens reacts in a unique way.... [tags: Albert Camus Plague Essays]
1281 words (3.7 pages)
- Inexperienced Minds in The Plague The town itself, let us admit, is ugly. These are the words of Dr. Bernard Rieux, the narrator of Albert Camus The Plague. His accurate, unexaggerated descriptions of a town’s sufferings, bring the novel to life. The town of Oran becomes afflicted with a plague, and Rieux, the town doctor, watches the town quickly die away. He joins forces with Jean Tarrou, Raymond Rambert, Joseph Grand, and Father Paneloux, hoping to defeat the unbeatable enemy. The quarantined town ultimately defeats the disease, but not before incredible losses are suffered.... [tags: Albert Camus Plague Essays]
1930 words (5.5 pages)
- The Archetype of the Trial in The Plague and Hamlet Rare is the tale without a conflict, without a challenge to overcome. However, to even reach the challenge the hero must first pass through the Trial. The archetype of the Trial can be found in almost any folktale. King Arthur must draw the sword from the stone to prove himself fit to be king. Hercules must face labors to atone for the murders committed in his madness. It is prominent in other areas of literature as well; it is especially well represented in The Plague by Albert Camus and Hamlet by William Shakespeare.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
3165 words (9 pages)
- The Stranger, by Albert Camus, is the story of Meursault, a man who cares not for the future, nor the past. He lives without meaning, without rationality, without emotions. On one fateful day at the beach, Meursault shoots and kills an Arab, leading to a chain of events that causes his death. Throughout the judicial process, Albert Camus criticizes the society he lives in and the values it holds. The Stranger is the definitive work on Camus' own thoughts, and the basis of title as the Professor of the Absurd.... [tags: Albert Camus]
1540 words (4.4 pages)
- The plague affected people not only on a physical level but a mental one as well. The mental health of the citizens of Oran was amongst the plague's many victims, it suffered of exhaustion as well as being forced to handle mental confrontations. When the citizens dealt with these issues, some people lost their capacity to love as intently, but overall the general capacity of people to uphold their devotion remained resilient to the challenges the plague provided. When the plague began, people kept their hope in love alive.... [tags: Camus Plague]
934 words (2.7 pages)
It is as if the plague was a mathematical constant, treating humans like variables. Camus understands that people are all alike enough to react a certain way to the plague and that major trends are reflected in the lives of individuals. Camus follows this theme through the entire book, showing the broad sweeping effects of the plague on the citizens of Oran by using stories from their lives, taking time for character development. The characters in The Plague are stereotyped to fit the major (and minor) groups of personalities which must exist in a 'civilized' society, and the way those personality groups react in a disaster. That more than anything is what lies at the heart of The Plague. Despite human tendency to treat disasters impersonally and talk about the broad changes in the attitude of the masses, Camus shows these changes as they actually happen, through life. Life, not the death that the plague brings is the point of Camus' novel, and not only life, but the life of an individual and how the individual can change or reflect a change in society as a whole.