Tag: Albert Camus

Albert Camus and the Corona Virus — Final Post (6)

[6-7 minute read]

To say that The Plague is a novel about revolt is not, of course, to say that the concept of the absurd is not overlooked. Tarrou, after dies, and the reader does not want Tarrou to die, and in this, Camus fails to keep the reader at a distance from the characters he’s created. It would have been more reasonable somehow, more predictable, more satisfying if Joseph Grand had died instead of Jean Tarrou. It is not fair that Tarrou dies, and as in all calamities and natural disasters, nothing is fair — and we’re better off recognizing that from the start. Fairness has nothing to do with anything.

So how should one behave in an unfair universe? This is the question of The Plague. How to we live now that COVID-19 has upended — permanently — our lives. We still don’t know what the new normal is going to look like. But it’s clear we are not returning to the “normal.”

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Albert Camus and the Corona Virus — Part 4

In his novel, The Plague, Albert Camus allows the characters to illustrate the revolt motif he has in mind. We have already considered the townspeople as a whole, Cottard and Joseph Grand. Now let’s look at Father Paneloux.

Father Paneloux is a north-African priest, and as such, is a modern reflection or clone of the other north-African theologian whom we know as the bishop of Hippo, Augustine. As the sack of Rome was to Augustine, the plague is to Paneloux.

Pere Paneloux meets the issue of the plague head-on in a widely publicized sermon. In true Augustinian fashion, he thunders from the cathedra in the basilica at Oran, “Calamity has come upon you, my brethren and sisters, and my brothers and sisters, you deserved it.”

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