Themes in Albert Camus' "The Plague." Essay

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Albert Camus was born on the 7th of November 1913 in Mondovi, Algeria to Lucien Camus, whose family had settled in Algeria in 1871, and Catherine Sintes, of Spanish origin. During Camus' high school years, he met Jean Grenier, the man who would influence Camus' career to the greatest extent by opening his mind to the philosophy of thinkers such as Nietzsche and Bergson. He and Grenier focused much of their writing on the duality of mortality.

Still achieving highly at school, Camus received his diploma from the University in philosophy in 1936, examining the legacies and conflicts of thought in his thesis, which would later inhabit his works. The philosophy of moralism he formulated led to his ideas of the absurd, a state which can
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Individuals were regarded as free to determine themselves through such choices. A pessimist mood characterised the early post-war years reflected in Jean Paul Sartre's philosophy of existentialism. This was the backdrop under which Camus wrote.

The Plague is classified under the genre of Impressionistic realism. There is no doubt that the book was written as an allegorical experience of the author living in German occupied France during the Second World War. The book is also read as, the occupation of Algeria by France. Another interpretation of the book is that the book is a critique of totalitarian communist ideology, in which the plague symbolises the repression of the people by a ruthless government machinery. My attempt in this paper, though, is to bring out the various themes present in the novel.

Through this book, Camus tries to portray man's fight against an all pervading and arbitrary enemy. The entire novel can be viewed as a statement about life and death, i.e. about human existence in general. As with his other novels, The Plague deals with conflicts and struggles, freedom and responsibility, alienation and the difficulty in facing life without belief in God or in absolute moral standards. Other major themes one finds interwoven into this novel are suffering, separation, sickness, rebellion, sympathy, and mechanisation of life.

In the novel an epidemic ravages the commercial port town of Oran, in Algeria. The early symptoms like
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