Oran: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. Character Analysis Camus "The Plague"

1553 words - 7 pages

Oran, peaceful and unprepared, is overcome by Bubonic plague. Separation, isolation and indigence become the common lot of distinct characters whose actions, thoughts and feelings constitute a dynamic story of man imprisoned. Prior to the closing, people went about their business as usual, almost oblivious to the plague. When Oran was shut off from the world, its residents had to adapt to the new conditions of life. Men reacted to the terrible visitation in different ways, according to their beliefs and characters. I believe their reactions were based on their personality and their experience during the plague. Each react to the circumstances of the plague in a unique way, and emerge f ...view middle of the document...

'He tries unsuccessfully to hang himself when life seems hopeless. Prior to the plague, he had an aloofness and mistrusted everyone. When the plague descends upon the city, he develops an altruistic side. He sets out to help people. He becomes more amiable as the plague progressed through the population. He tries to take control of his life but becomes discouraged by circumstances. Rather than dealing with the circumstances effectively, he allows them to dominate his life. When the plague passes, and his philanthropic efforts are outmoded, he looses his humanitarian side and starts randomly shooting. The plague gave him only a temporary suspension from prosecution and the plague had only a temporary affect on his behavior. Cottard's true self is basically unchanged by the plague. He is the same moral-less, direction-less, undriven man he was following the plague as he was going into the plague.Joseph Grand is a petty official. He is not motivated by ambition, and therefore never achieved success in life. Rieux said of Grand, 'He had all the attributes of insignificance.' In spite of his lack of success, he persists in his search for perfection, the perfection of an insignificant aspect of life -- the first sentence of his book. His motive for writing the book seems to be his difficulty in expressing himself, he 'couldn't find his words.' He leads a dreary, quiet life until the plague seals off the city from the outside world. He is odd and eccentric, but is among the first to volunteer to help with the plague. During the plague, he does his best to assist his fellow man, doing this out of a heartfelt responsibility. During this period of trial, he gains an insight into his writing project and into the reasons why his marriage failed. Grand succumbs to the plague, but recovers. Rieux sees Grand as having a weak constitution, and believes he will therefore probably survive the plague. I would rather believe he survives because he heard his calling in helping the plague victims for the sake of humanity. Grand is an aging man with little to show for his many years. He is still searching vainly for a purpose in life. The plague gives him this purpose. He gains an understanding of his life from his volunteer work. He emerges from the plague a better man, a man with a better understanding of his life's purpose.Father Paneloux, a learned and militant Jesuit priest, interprets the sudden plague as just punishment for the sins of the city. He lectures his congregation on the ills of sin and exhorts his belief that they deserve this affliction. His sermon comes from a black and white, right or wrong way of thinking. Paneloux enrolls in the plague fighter's battalion, and his perception of the plague visibly changes. However, he still does not see the plague as unjust, but rather as merely God's will. He demands his congregation accept and embrace the plague as an unexplainable curse. In the end, he seems to will his own death in order to join the ranks...


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