The Plague, Albert Camus novel, was published in 1947, two years near the end of the war. This is the chronicle of an epidemic that struck in the 40s, the city of Oran, Algeria French yet.
Dead rats picked up by then tens, hundreds, announced worse to come for Dr Bernard RIEUX, narrator and main character of the novel.
The authorities, noting that human corpses soon succeed to the dead rodents, decide to close the city.
Pestilence, when it is dark, is a metaphor of totalitarian regimes in general and in particular of the Nazi regime.
The PLAGUE – Albert Camus (1947)
RIEUX is a humble character, humanist, humble, selfless and courageous;
TARROU is the most idealistic among men;
COTTARD , robber by profession, is a trickster. It derives from the epidemic, some benefits, including temporary amnesty, but also the opportunity of smuggling;
GRAND is a model town clerk;
the Paneloux father is a redeeming angel before the eternal, the moral support of the Church …
The story boils down to a death estate of body cremations, escape attempts of this cursed city and repression by the authorities …
Plague and Nazism
But the key is in the fact that Camus parallel between the plague and Nazism or Fascism (the brown plague). Fascism was present in germs in the French society in the 40s. Fascisme was waiting for his time, the opportunity to express himself, to strike at random, to buy up entire families without justification.
The plague, which I wanted to read it to several litters, however, as evident contents European resistance against Nazism. Plague is a chronicle of the resistance. Albert Camus
Indeed, plague and Fascism develop with:
- the blindness of the people who begin by denying the danger (the Allies refused to believe in the existence of the camps);
- the struggle of each (the Resistance, personified by RIEUX and TARROU) against the scourge;
- collaboration of others (embodied by COTTARD);
- the black marketeers;
- rationing populations;
- the collusion of authorities who do not hesitate to manipulate information;
- the arbitrary evil which strikes without justification;
- the attitude of the Church (embodied by Paneloux) that sees the plague as a « divine punishment ».
Cremation of corpses is invariably thought of the treatment of Jews in Auschwitz.
When traveling ambulances were finished, we, led the procession into stretchers, it slid to the bottom, against each other, bare and slightly twisted body. At this time, we covered the quicklime, then earth, but to a certain height, to make room for the next guest.
The plague – Albert Camus.
Attention : bacillus is only sleeping and waiting for the next favorable condition to wake up again …