The narrator remains unknown until the start of the last chapter, chapter 5 of part 5. Cottard is distressed by the ending of the epidemic from which he has profited by shady dealings. But the serum is ineffective, and the boy dies after a long and painful struggle. Grand begins working on his novel again. A haunting tale of human resilience in the face of unrelieved horror, Camus' novel about a bubonic plague ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century literature. The Plague. A supply of plague serum finally arrives, but there is enough to treat only existing cases, and the country's emergency reserves are depleted. The Plague, by Albert Camus, is a vivid description of a horrid epidemic. M. Othon M. (Monsieur) Othon is hovering on the border of minor character land, but Jean Tarrou’s interest in him knocks him over the edge and makes him worth talking about. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. As the death toll begins to rise, more desperate measures are taken. His diatribe falls on the ears of many citizens of the town, who turned to religion in droves but would not have done so under normal circumstances. Tarrou tells Rieux the story of his life and, to take their mind off the epidemic, the two men go swimming together in the sea. The Plague is considered an existentialist classic despite Camus' objection to the label. M. Othon today lives in officials who passively and helplessly wait for what will unfold next, … The quiet crowd which suddenly breaks into a shrill crying stampede is triggered by the realization that the actor has thrust his arms and legs into the plague victims' strained, splayed last thrust for life. The Plague Who is M. Michel in The Plague by Albert Camus? MATSUMOTO, Y. He contracts the plague and dies. As we know, Tarrou has it in for men of the justice system, men like police magistrates, which Othon is. A "special ward" is opened at the hospital, but its 80 beds are filled within three days. Check out the conversation between these two men. [12], The novel has been read as an allegorical treatment of the French resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II. Eulogy for a Child; specifically of Philippe Othon in Camus’ The Plague. Two government employees approach him, and he flees. Asked by bookragstutor. Asked by bookragstutor. [11] Elwyn Sterling has analysed the role of Cottard and his final actions at the end of the novel. In February, the town gates open and people are reunited with their loved ones from other cities. Such people include M. Othon (sad), Jean Tarrou (catastrophically sad), and Rieux’s absent, invalid wife (we didn’t really know her that well). An old man, he is the first victim of the plague. This novel appeals to the emotions of the reader, and leaves the reader thinking about love, death, and freedom. 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. Asked by bookragstutor. However, Grand makes an unexpected recovery, and deaths from the plague start to decline. 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. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through the author's distinctive absurdist point of view. M. Othon does catch the plague and dies as does Tarrou, yet Tarrou struggles and fights until the disease takes him in the end. Violence and looting break out on a small scale, and the authorities respond by declaring martial law and imposing a curfew. An old man, he is the first victim of the plague. His second sermon is an interesting variation on … When Tarrou, Gonzales, and Rambert visit the stadium-turned-isolation-camp at the outskirts of town, they discover that M. Othon is the manager. ... M. Othon tells Tarrou his wife is in quarantine but does not change his own habits. M. Michel. M. Othon: M. Othon is a magistrate in Oran. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. By late January the plague is in full retreat, and the townspeople begin to celebrate the imminent opening of the town gates. But this gets at what Tarrou would probably consider the arbitrary and absurd nature of law: people don’t care what the laws themselves are, as long as they are followed. Raoul When Othon's period of quarantine ends, he chooses to stay in the camp as a volunteer because this will make him feel less separated from his dead son. In mid-August, the situation continues to worsen. Paneloux cannot produce a moral or rational explanation for an innocent child's horrible death. M. Michel: M. Michel is the concierge of the building in which Rieux lives. Othon treats his wife and children unkindly, but after his son dies of the plague, his character softens. Is Othon portrayed positively or negatively by this reaction? He addresses the problem of an innocent child's suffering and says it is a test of a Christian's faith since it requires him either to deny everything or believe everything. Cottard, on the other hand, seems to flourish during the plague because it gives him a sense of being connected to others, since everybody faces the same danger. When he contracts the plague, he is the first to receive Dr. Castel's anti-plague serum. ... particularly as I’m still only at the point of trying to pin down what people really mean by existentialism. He treats his wife and children unkindly, but after his son dies of the plague, his character softens. MCCARTHY, P. “The Use of Narrative in The Plague.” Meanwhile, Jean Tarrou, a vacationer; Joseph Grand, a civil engineer; and Dr. Rieux, exhaustively treat patients in their homes and in the hospital. She comes to visit her son during the first days of the plague. Despondent, they waste away emotionally as well as physically. The novel reveals the feelings of the people that experienced the disaster of living in a plague stricken tone. Othon, however, does not escape death from the disease. There are still some deaths (M. Othon, Rieux's wife, and worst of all, Tarrou), but it's ending. He inquires about the death of his son Jacques and whether the child suffered very much before he passed away. ", "Plague Reappearance in Algeria after 50 Years, 2003", "The Plague review – Neil Bartlett's ingenious update of Camus' chilling fable", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Plague&oldid=996503493, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with French-language sources (fr), Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz work identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 27 December 2020, at 00:23. Towards the end of October, Castel's new antiplague serum is tried for the first time, but it cannot save the life of Othon's young son, who suffers greatly, as Paneloux, Rieux, and Tarrou tend to his bedside in horror. Meanwhile, Rieux's wife has been sent to a sanatorium in another city, to be treated for an unrelated chronic illness. What insights can we discover from Camus’ novel, The Plague, about moral motivations? Last updated by Jill D on 29 Jun 12:49 Answers: 1. Othon treats his wife and children unkindly, but after his son dies of the plague, his character softens. This is best done by focusing one character (perhaps two, but not more—for the sake of focus). In Oran, a coastal town in North Africa, the plague begins as a series of portents He reflects on the epidemic and declares he wrote the chronicle "to simply say what we learn in the midst of plagues : there are more things to admire in men than to despise". Tarrou, a mysterious guy, records more journal entries. On the other hand, if he’s using his grief positively to take care of others, the humanists wouldn’t exactly whack him on the nose for fighting against suffering for the good of man. Jacques Othon Jacques is M. Othon's small son. Part 1 Prefect: The Prefect is also reluctant to act swiftly to fight the plague. And that is something we must all accept. Rieux hears from the sanatorium that his wife's condition is worsening. Part 1 (99% in) M. Othon, the magistrate , assured Dr. Rieux that he had found the preacher's arguments "absolutely irrefutable. Dr. Rieux consults his colleague, Dr. Castel, about the illness until they come to the conclusion that a plague is sweeping the town. "The Plague" is a famous allegorical novel by Albert Camus, who's known for his existential works. "No," the magistrate replied, "I've come to meet Madame Othon, who's been to present her respects to my family." M. (Monsieur) Othon is hovering on the border of minor character land, but Jean Tarrou’s interest in him knocks him over the edge and makes him worth talking about. Grand hurried home every evening to his mysterious literary activities. [2] Oran and its surroundings were struck by disease several times before Camus published his novel. [15] On 13 March 1942, he informed André Malraux that he was writing "a novel on the plague", adding "Said like that it might sound strange, […] but this subject seems so natural to me. In this coronavirus pandemic, their responses are mirrored by todays officials. After he contracts the plague, he is the first to receive some of Dr. Castel's plague serum. "What an odd statement! M Othon informs Tarrou that his Mme Othon is “under suspicion” for having taken care of her mother who has succumbed to plague. [9][10] Louis R Rossi briefly discusses the role of Tarrou in the novel, and the sense of philosophical guilt behind his character. [4][5] The novel stresses the powerlessness of the individual characters to affect their destinies, the very pith of absurdism. [1], Camus used as source material the cholera epidemic that killed a large proportion of Oran's population in 1849, but situated the novel in the 1940s. Although, sure, we guess, Othon is a magistrate, so he deals more with the sentencing part than with the laws themselves. Cottard, a criminal remorseful enough to attempt suicide but fearful of being arrested, becomes wealthy as a major smuggler. The Plague Grand catches the plague and instructs Rieux to burn all his papers. M. Michel is the concierge of the building in which Rieux lives. Cottard and Tarrou attend a performance of Gluck's opera Orpheus and Eurydice, but the actor portraying Orpheus collapses with plague symptoms during the performance. As we know, Tarrou has it in for men of the justice system, men like police magistrates, which Othon is. Another character, Father Paneloux, uses the plague as an opportunity to advance his stature in the town by suggesting that the plague was an act of God punishing the citizens' sinful nature. The main character, Dr. Bernard Rieux, lives comfortably in an apartment building when strangely the building's concierge, M. Michel, a confidante, dies from a fever. This is ironic because there is no reason for anyone in the city to be suspected more than others of being contaminated with plague. For other uses, see, Camus (in Thody, 1970):345. Fewer and fewer people die each day, and Oran begins to beat the plague. Madame Rieux The mother of Dr. Rieux. © 2021 Shmoop University Inc | All Rights Reserved | Privacy | Legal. After extended negotiations with guards, Rambert finally has a chance to escape, but he decides to stay, saying that he would feel ashamed of himself if he left. Jacques Othon. M. Othon: M. Othon is a magistrate in Oran. 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. “Sur ‘le fils de M. Othon’ dans La Peste.” Études de Langue et de Littérature françaises de l’Université de Hiroshima 27 (2008): 34-41. The streetcars were always packed at the rush hours, empty and untidy during the rest of the day. Paneloux, who has joined the group of volunteers fighting the plague, gives a second sermon. MCCANN, J. ... Paneloux or Cottard. He also hardens his heart regarding the plague victims so that he can continue to do his work. He begins a gun fight in town and soon his taken into custody by the police. Chaos prevails when the bubonic plague strikes the Algerian coastal city of Oran. Funerals are conducted with more speed, no ceremony and little concern for the feelings of the families of the deceased. Near the end of October, Dr. Castel's new anti-plague serum is ready to test. Tall and dark, M. Othon had something of the air of what used to be called a man of the world, and something of an undertaker's assistant. When the daily number of deaths jumps to 30, the town is sealed, and an outbreak of plague is officially declared. Finally, there is M. Othon, the magistrate of Oran. When he contracts the plague, he is the first to receive Dr. Castel's anti-plague serum. The book was published in 1947 and is considered one of the most important works by Camus. The Plague by Albert Camus takes place in an Algerian city known as Oran. The Plague Who is M. Michel in The Plague by Albert Camus? The book begins with an epigraph quoting Daniel Defoe, author of A Journal of the Plague Year. Asked by bookragstutor. Hysteria develops soon afterward, causing the local newspapers to report the incident. Germaine Brée has characterised the struggle of the characters against the plague as "undramatic and stubborn", and in contrast to the ideology of "glorification of power" in the novels of André Malraux, whereas Camus' characters "are obscurely engaged in saving, not destroying, and this in the name of no ideology". A few days after the sermon, Paneloux is taken ill. His symptoms do not conform to those of the plague, but the disease still proves fatal. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. M. Othon: M. Othon is a judge in the city of Oran. The plague, for the present, offers life to Cottard. Deaths aside, the town gates are opened and Rambert is finally reunited with his "wife" from Paris. Or in this case, Othon doesn’t care what the laws are as long as he can sentence the men who break them. The narrative tone is similar to Kafka's, especially in The Trial, whose individual sentences potentially have multiple meanings; the material often pointedly resonating as stark allegory of phenomenal consciousness and the human condition. The engine … To someone like Tarrou, this is indeed a travesty of what justice ought to be.But it’s hard to hate M. Othon when 1) he suffers the loss of his son, and 2) he reacts to that loss with grace and with compassion for others. Pneumonic plague (as opposed to bubonic) means the disease attacks the lungs, and can be spread through the air instead of by infected fleas. People try to escape the town, but some are shot by armed sentries. “The Narrator as Special Pleader. Cottard went his usual desultory ways, and M. Othon, the magistrate, continued to parade his menagerie. Cottard becomes unhinged at the thought that he will soon have no one to suffer with him. The inhabitants passively endure their increasing feelings of exile and separation. He is tall and thin and, as Tarrou observes in his journal, "his small, beady eyes, narrow nose, and hard, straight mouth make him look like a well-brought-up owl." Last updated by Jill D on 29 Jun 12:48 Answers: 1. M. Michel: M. Michel works in Dr. Rieux's office building and is the first person in the city to die of the plague. [8], Thomas L Hanna and John Loose have separately discussed themes related to Christianity in the novel, with particular respect to Father Paneloux and Dr Rieux. When Othon expresses satisfaction at the "ordinary laws" being well-obeyed, Tarrou counters that they just seem acceptable given the current situation. Official notices enacting control measures are posted, but the language used is optimistic and downplays the seriousness of the situation. Check out the conversation between these two men. 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