The Plague Character Analysis

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Register to read the introduction… The Absurd represents the realization that despite all of one’s efforts and suffering, life amounts to nothing but an insignificant passage of time, regardless of what one might achieve in his life. Once one recognizes the absurdity of life, Camus argues that one cannot simply revert to a life of ignorance and naiveté. Instead, one can either succumb one’s self to the pessimistic perspective of the world or affirm his life in light of the Absurd and rebel against the indifference of the world. In the novel, characters utilize different contrivances and philosophies to combat the plague-a physical manifestation of the Absurd. Dr. Bernard Rieux combats the plague by saving the lives of others. Tarrou combats the plague by searching for a path to his self-proclaimed sainthood. Father Paneloux combats the plague by accepting it as an ultimate test of faith given to the townspeople by providence. By depicting the plight of different characters in combatting the plague, Camus defines the Absurd as an inevitable reality of the human condition and describes the importance of finding one’s own meaning in the face of an indifferent …show more content…
When reflecting on his experience in his father’s courtroom where a man was condemned to the death sentence, Tarrou states that everybody possesses plague and that everyone has an “indirect hand in the deaths of thousands of people.” Tarrou finds an intimate sense of kinship with the condemned man, as he identifies with the man’s mortality and humanity. He describes both his father and himself as murderers and ignorant for not willfully trying to save the man’s life. For Tarrou, all people are held responsible for the death of others, even if their contribution amounts to approving of the principles that directly or indirectly bring death to a person or justify others’ putting him to death. In order to prevent one from becoming an “innocent murderer”, that is, one who contributes to the death of another, Tarrou emphasizes the importance of having “the least lapses of attention”. This attention comes from constant awareness off one’s surroundings and action. One must constantly fight against his inner plague, on the side of man’s humanity and life. Only then can one achieve a sense of satisfaction and meaning. Moreover, Tarrou refers to these people of action as “saints”. Tarrou assigns two men the label of potential saints: the cat-spitting man and Rieux’s old asthmatic patient. He believes that both

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