Criticism Of Absurdism In The Plague

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The Plague: Reading Log #1
1.) The plague begins in the Algerian port town of Oran in the 1940’s. Due to unknown reason, all the rats in town begin dying in a horrific manner. The town doctor, Bernard Rieux becomes concerned because of the manner the rats are dying. Soon the rats stop dying and the citizens become ill. It became evident that the Bubonic plague has hit the town. As people began to die, Rieux and other doctors beg authorities to take preventive action which results in a quarantine. Soon mass hysteria begins to set in and smuggling begins to take place.
Dr. Bernard Rieux – is the protagonist of the novel. He is morally upright character and is frustrated by the City officials reaction to the plague. During the Quarantine,
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Essentially, the philosophy states that the universe is absurd and meaningless and that humans are doomed to suffer. And due to this situation, humans typically have three choices in life: to commit suicide, to believe in a divine creation or to accept the absurdism and creating meaning with one’s own life. In the Plague, Oran is a small town but the citizens illustrate the different ways people deal with the absurd, in this case the plague. For instance, Cottard tries to commit suicide due to his guilt from a previous crime which could be described as his absurd. But after a while, he decides to work “with” the plague and profit off of others suffering. Whereas, Dr. Rieux tried to help those with the plague, even though he himself knew that there is little he could do for them. But as he isolates patients from their families, Rieux himself has to live in his own world of absurdism. Rieux recognizes the absurd and tries to work against it and finds the meaning of his life by healing. While the town’s priest, Father Paneloux declares that the plague is a punishment sent by God and that this was retribution for the sins the town has committed. This causes people to panic as the sermon made them feel like prisoners who are punished for a sin that they did not commit. This theme is relevant as it describes the different mentalities of humans when put into a dire

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