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Human Nature And Condition In The Plague By Albert Camus

1212 words - 5 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

He works long hours in the hospital and everyday he goes back to his house late with a high death toll and a very low survival rate. Dr. Rieux understands that every day is a losing battle for him. “Yes. But your victories will never be lasting; that’s all.” “Yes, I know that. But it’s no reason for giving up the struggle…Yes. A never ending defeat” (Camus 128). This conversation between Tarrou and Dr. Rieux is one where Rieux realizes completely what his life has turned into since the plague. Being the main doctor that is trying to fight the plague is so difficult because he will never have a day filled with victories, or when no one dies. This thought, that he will never win, is very dramatic and eye opening. It makes Rieux believe in something. He believes that he is fighting the plague and helping people survive, and he isn’t going to stop until the plague ends.
One of the turning points in the novel is when the priest, Paneloux, delivers a sermon about the plague. He tells the people of Oran that the ones that have sinned will die from the plague, and the ones that haven’t sinned will be free from the plague. However, he makes the point that if one just went to church and prayed once a week, then they would not be saved. “The just man need have no fear, but the evildoer has good cause to tremble. For plague is the flail of God and the world His threshing-floor, and implacably He will thresh out His harvest until the wheat is separated from the chaff…You fondly imagined it was enough to visit God on Sundays, and thus you could make free of your weekdays. You believed some brief formalities, some bendings of the knee, would recompense Him well enough for your criminal indifference. But God is not mocked” (Camus 95, 97). These quotes from the sermon are instrumental to how people think about the plague. Many people listening to the sermon believe Paneloux and want to be good and not sin. However, some people ignore him and don’t understand why God would still punish them this harshly. Dr. Rieux has the biggest problem with the sermon though out of anyone. He doesn’t believe in God and wants the people to become proactive in stopping this plague. Instead, most everyone is thinking now that if they have sinned then they will die and aren’t going to do anything about it....

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