At its most basic, this philosophy holds that the universe is absurd and meaningless – there is no God or cosmic order – and that humans are doomed … Reading philosophical fiction back to back can have an impression on your thinking! Struggling with distance learning? The story centers on a physician and the people he works with and treats in an Algerian port town that is struck by the plague. Albert Camus, in relation to this idea, delivered to the literary world his existentialist work, The Plague, a novel based upon the central theme of the inanity of human suffering and the profound individuality with the human experience. Teachers and parents! Camus also describes the townspeople’s feelings of exile as the plague progresses: first everyone wants to speed up time and end the plague, or they work ceaselessly…, Instant downloads of all 1391 LitChart PDFs People are exiled physically from their loved ones and trapped inside the walls of Oran. The location of Oran is utterly random yet the manner in which the plague plays out is utterly ruthless, almost as if it had been chosen by some greater power. The Plague by Albert Camus has many themes including exile and imprisonment. As the plague begins to ravage the populace, he asks Rieux to let him form volunteer squads. In the novel the bubonic plague is a symbol of many things – the harsh, meaningless universe, the human condition, or war – but all of them mean suffering and death. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. Our, LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in. Albert Camus (1913 – 1960) was a French author and philosopher who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.His novel The Plague has recently garnered much worldwide attention do to the pandemic of 2020.As a philosopher familiar with Camus’ thought, I’d like to highlight the book’s main philosophical themes.But first a very brief plot summary. Battle Against Crisis at the Conclusion of The Plague, The Absurd and the Concept of Hope in Camus's Novels. When conditions in Europe suddenly changed at the beginning of the 14th century, what did many people believe had come? Not affiliated with Harvard College. We will live while we can. Both Rambert and Rieux appeared to be separated from the women they loved when Oran’s gates were closed. At first they try to ignore or downplay it, and then they see it as a personal antagonist separating them…, Despite the enormity of suffering and death in the world and the seeming omnipotence of the plague, there are instances of heroism and altruistic struggle as well. Abstraction is seen as deadening oneself to reality and mankind, sticking with statistics or philosophies or doctrines, focusing too much on rules or theories or putative panaceas. The Plague is a transparent allegory of the Nazi occupation of France beginning in spring 1940. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Plague. After all, we could all die at any moment. Albert Camus’ ‘The Plague’ and the Philosophy of Suffering, 2007. … Within this new collectivity there is some comfort, but there is also an acute loss of what makes being alive so wonderful. Those who followed this movement were regarded as a dangerous threat to church authority. Camus develops a story with characters who’s brought together by the natural disaster. The Plague was heavily influenced by the Nazi occupation of France during WWII, during which Camus joined the French Resistance and wrote for an underground newspaper. Many popular reading lists for the COVID-19 pandemic include The Plague, a 1947 novel by Albert Camus. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Dealing with the absurd is not something most people have experience with, and Camus chronicles the various ways they confront the absence of all reason. As an atheist, Rieux finds it unfathomable that a God could allow the suffering seen in the plague and still be considered loving. Those who fall ill or who have family members fall ill are isolated in camps and hospital wards, kept away from the healthy and deemed a threat. Osborne-Bartucca, Kristen. They all live in fear; anyone could come down with the plague at any moment. However, as the plague takes over everything, they lose that sense of uniqueness and individuality. But what does it mean to be trapped? 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. Rambert and Rieux are both separated by the quarantine from the women they love, and Rambert, a foreigner, is exiled from his own home as well. Summary. New York: Penguin Classics, 2006. Abstraction is seen as deadening oneself to reality and mankind, sticking with statistics or philosophies or doctrines, focusing too much on rules or theories or putative panaceas. Camus writes, "[it was] plague on the stage in the guise of a disarticulated mummer, and in the auditorium the toys of luxury, so futile now, forgotten fans and lace shawls derelict on the red plush seats" (201). The Plague, or La Peste in its original French, is a novel written by philosopher/writer Albert Camus in 1947. The Plague concerns an outbreak of bubonic plague in the French-Algerian port city of Oran, sometime in the 1940s. Camus is often considered an existentialist, but the philosophy he most identified with and developed was called absurdism. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. The Plague tells the story of a town in quarantine for an outbreak of the plague. Camus never experienced the plague or Covid-19 – he researched the topic extensively and somehow was able to portray an eerily accurate description of events, feelings and thoughts that are now all-too-known to us in 2020. Because of this situation, humans have…, The rest of the themes generally follow as corollaries to Camus’ philosophy. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. They are exiled from the past and the future, stuck in an interminable future. At the end of the novel, Rieux identifies himself as the author of the chronicle and explains his conviction to bear witness to the plague. Love for mankind drives some to sacrifice their own well-being in fighting for the good of society, while love for individuals threatens to do just the opposite. Being ripped asunder from their lovers, these two characters are bright examples of separation portrayed in the novel. The people of Oran deal with this meaningless suffering in various ways. -Graham S. “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. The plague that strikes Oran is thematically rich in its exploration of the absurd. Camus was born in Algeria, and his father died soon after his birth. They are emotionally estranged by the inability of language to convey the reality of what they are experiencing. It cannot be helped. Love is tricky business – especially in The Plague. The Plague is a novel by Albert Camus that was first published in 1947. resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. Camus immediately undercuts the “heroic” efforts of the volunteer groups by declaring that to the fight the plague is the only decent, truly human thing to do, but this is because he believes that humans are generally good. Albert Camus published The Plague in 1947. The quarantine is lifted, and the gates of the town are opened. Judt, Tony. In earlier works—notably the play Caligula (pb. A lot more an experience particular to person alone. Their lives were strictly regimented by an unconscious enslavement to their habits. Camus published The Plague in 1947, two years after the end of World War II. The Plague literature essays are academic essays for citation. The plague causes suffering among the rich and the poor, the old and the young, and men and women. The chronicle’s unknown narrator eventually reveals himself as Dr. Rieux, who has been trying to take a more detached view of the plague. Lebesque, Richard. Issues of confinement and exile are hugely important to the tale. If no one documents, then no one remembers. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through the author's distinctive Philosophical Viewpoints: The Absurd, Existentialism, Humanism; Mortality; Suffering; Language and Communication; Duty; Freedom and Confinement; Religion; Criminality; Truth; Love; Time; Dreams, Hopes, and Plans; Characters; Analysis; Quotes; Flashcards; Quizzes; Write Essay; Teaching He does not renounce his faith but sees his choice as all or nothing, as the complete relinquishment of any claim to answers or comprehension and instead the resting in God's ultimate mysteriousness. The Plague (Penguin Classics). Course Hero's expert-written discussion question and answer pairs for Albert Camus's The Plague offer insight and analysis on themes, symbols, characters, and more. The word exile means the state of being barred and expelled from one’s native country, typically for political or punitive reasons (dictionary.com). It's a fictional story written about the very real town of Oran in Northern Algeria. The characters in the plague span these binaries, demonstrating the multifarious responses to a trauma like the plague. He thinks it is a waste of effort trying to figure out why God would send the plague or what the sins were that necessitated the plague, and that the way one helps combat the plague is not by praying. The central irony in The Plague lies in Camus' treatment of "freedom." Dr. Rieux is revealed to be the narrator of the story, telling readers his motivation for writing this "true account" was to document the "common suffering" he witnessed so that it would not be forgotten. The Plague is essentially a philosophical novel, meaning that it forwards a particular worldview through its plot and characterization. The plague does not care about politics, money, power, past sufferings, or morality; it simply is, and it is all-encompassing. Rieux and Paneloux represent two poles of thought. The plague is often considered an allegory for war and military occupation, and Camus drew from his own experience to describe the isolation and struggle of the novel. Many are exiled from God, no longer able to reconcile the suffering they experience and see with the promises of Christianity. Camus presents both of these perspectives as valid, though his personal sympathy is with Rieux, and shows that every single person tries to come to terms with the plague whether it is through religion, philosophy, volunteering, suffering, or other methods and means. Camus is often considered an existentialist, but the philosophy he most identified with and developed was called absurdism. Humans suffer, and their suffering makes them the same, erasing boundaries to the point where men and women … The Plague is essentially a philosophical novel, meaning that it forwards a particular worldview through its plot and characterization. Copyright © 1999 - 2021 GradeSaver LLC. Eventually plague deaths begin to decline, and a new version of the serum seems to be effective. Deadly though it is, Covid-19 is not the imagined plague from Camus’ novel, nor is today’s world comparable to that of the 1940s. "The Plague Themes". Camus is often considered an existentialist, but the philosophy he most identified with and developed was called absurdism. Rieux notices the sudden appearance of dying rats around town, and soon thousands of … It provides a thorough exploration of the novel’s plot, characters and main themes, including war, guilt and disease. I finally comprehend that it is not necessary to understand a story to like it. "My students can't get enough of your charts and their results have gone through the roof." In the beginning, the townspeople of Oran are still caught up in their own lives—their loves, their pursuits of leisure, their past and future, their unshakeable sense of themselves as the center of the universe. ALBERT CAMUS: THE PLAGUE OF ABSURDITY IN AN INTERVIEW published last year in the Book Review of the New York Times, Albert Camus explained that his latest novel is aimed at the existentialists, who, like the protagon-ist of The Fall, are possessed by a "mania for self-accusation, so that they can accuse others more easily." The Plague by Albert Camus. Depending on the perspective of the reader, the plague of the novel could relate to the fascism and Nazism of World War II and the French Resistance, a more universal application to the plague of oppressive governments or an even more universal application of the oppression suffered by a minority for no apparent reason. Now I'm sounding philosophical myself. The difference, however, is consciousness. However, Camus’ The Plague, while ostensibly allegorical of the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, is also an allegory of human solidarity against social calamities. They are just like everyone else; they have no distinguishing characteristics. At its most basic, this philosophy holds that the universe is absurd and meaningless – there is no God or cosmic order – and that humans are doomed … There is only plague, and they are stuck in its void. The characters in the plague span these binaries, demonstrating the multifarious responses to a … Imagination in the context of the Camus' plague means identifying with people, with giving into love and grief, with confronting the real. What was the status of life in Europe in terms of faith, technology, and trade before the Plague arrived? The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of a plague sweeping the Algerian city of Oran.It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition.The characters in the book, ranging from doctors to vacationers to fugitives, all help to show the effects the plague has on a populace. Camus also describes the townspeople’s feelings of exile as the plague progresses: first everyone wants to speed up time and end the plague, or they work ceaselessly (like Rambert) to escape and rejoin their lost loved one, while later many citizens give up hope or live in fantasies of regret and longing. The author was an existentialist philosopher who was also a journalist, a writer, and a member of the French Resistance to the Nazi occupation. The Plague makes the point that, really, this isn’t that terribly different from normal life. It could also, of course, be the most concrete version of itself—a microbe, insidiously permeating every aspect of life and reminding people that they are subject to the forces of biology and nature just as much as they are subject to politics and economics. No group is untouched. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. Strange but it is true. The narrator remains unknown until the start of the last chapter, chapter 5 of part 5. Themes. Rieux isn't a perfect narrator, and as a doctor he knows he cannot save everyone, but he can make sure he contributes to the collective memory. The Plague. The plague itself is thematic. These “heroes” fit into his idea of Absurdism, as in…, While The Plague is a tale of absurdist philosophy, it is also a novel with living characters and a deeply human story, and Camus’ writing is potent in its imagery of suffering, despair, and courage. The people believed the Blacl Death signaled the Biblical apocolypse. 9782806270160 29 EBook Plurilingua Publishing This practical and insightful reading guide offers a complete summary and analysis of The Plague by Albert Camus. He needed to account for the ways life was disrupted, for the lives that were lost, for the quiet acts of heroism, for the endurance and the resilience and the charity and the overwhelming will to live. 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