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An Absurd Situation in an African Town of Oran in Albert Camus' Novel, The Plague

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When people are faced with tough situations they tend to lose control of their emotions, and let their emotions control their actions. It is in these situations, that people must control their emotions the most so that they can focus on solving the problem. The absurd situation in the small, African town of Oran is an unstoppable plague that strikes the town causing many to die at the hand of nature’s most merciless creation. Albert Camus, in his novel The Plague, demonstrates that life is absurd and meaningless through the random deaths of the towns people and the seemingly unstoppable plague. Doctor Bernard Rieux, in Camus’ novel realizes that the situation is absurd, but he continues to do what needs to be done. Rieux’s job as a doctor…show more content…
Doctor Rieux is one of these men helping to fight off the plague. Bernard Rieux is “about thirty five years old, of moderate height, dark-skinned, with close-cropped black hair” (Galens 207). Rieux is in charge of a hospital in Oran during the plague and he is charge of taking care of victims. He works long shifts treating the victims of the plague, but there is not much he can do. “He knows that the struggle against death is something that he can never win,” but he does “what needs to be done without any fuss” (Galens 207). This absurd situation allows the idea of the absurd hero to develop Rieux throughout the novel. As the absurd hero, Rieux needs “to live without appeal” so that he can do what needs to be done, no matter how small the impact (Camus, Sisyphus 66). Rieux’s plight in combatting the plague is similar to that of Sisyphus. In Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus explains that Sisyphus is the absurd hero because “he is conscious of his plight” and has “knowledge of the absurdity of his situation (Lane). Sisyphus is sent to the underworld and sentenced to continuously roll a rock up a mountain, and then helplessly watch it roll back down. In this situation, Sisyphus realizes that he does not have to worry about anything except for rolling a rock to
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