Albert Camus The Plague

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Albert Camus was quoted saying “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Camus successfully protected civilization during World War Two when he wrote and assisted in publishing the newspaper Combat, which spread the ideas of the Nazi Resistance in Occupied France. Albert Camus is considered one of the most influential authors of the twentieth century. His early death in 1960 shocked people around the world. The Plague was first published in 1947 and it is often regarded as one of Camus’ finest works. Camus uses allegoric devices to make comments on human nature in the novel. Characters and symbols utilized by Camus represent how humans react when faced with absurd conditions such as being quarantined during…show more content…
He is among the many unlucky people who are forced to stay in Oran after the quarantine is issued. Rambert is separated from his lover in France and this causes an intense amount of personal suffering for the young man. The internal suffering Rambert is faced with causes him to attempt to bargain with authorities for safe passage out of the city. When Rambert is denied leave by authorities, his urges to be with his loved one are so strong, he resorts to an underground smuggling ring hoping to leave as soon as possible. Rambert’s priority is satisfying his personal needs. Rambert asked Doctor Rieux, “Maybe I am all wrong in putting my love first.” (Camus 136). Rieux ensures Rambert that he is not wrong. Rambert is putting his personal suffering before the collective suffering of the citizens of Oran, but this ideology changes when Rambert learns that Rieux himself is also exiled from a loved on outside of city limits. After learning of Rieux’ separation Rambert feels obligated to help with stopping the spread of the plague. The biggest shock in the story comes when Rambert, who is one night away from freedom via smugglers, decides to stay in Oran and fight the spreading plague. “‘Doctor,’ Rambert said, I’m not going. I want to stay with you.’”(Camus 170). Rieux guarantees that Rambert is not wrong for pursuing happiness to which Rambert replies, “but it may be shameful to be happy by oneself.” (Camus 170). Rambert finally chooses to put the collective suffering and wellbeing of the community ahead of his personal happiness. Camus’ utilizes the development of Rambert to demonstrate how the human condition can change when faced with absurd conditions. Rambert makes the reader ask what is more important? Personal happiness, or the wellbeing of the community. While Rambert does have a change of heart in the novel, it can be argued that Cottard is the character who undergoes the greatest

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