Camus' The Plague Essay

1014 words - 4 pages

The plague affected people not only on a physical level but a mental one as well. The mental health of the citizens of Oran was amongst the plague's many victims, it suffered of exhaustion as well as being forced to handle mental confrontations. When the citizens dealt with these issues, some people lost their capacity to love as intently, but overall the general capacity of people to uphold their devotion remained resilient to the challenges the plague provided.

When the plague began, people kept their hope in love alive. They initially maintained their ideals, and honestly believed that the separation was temporary. When given the option of having their loved ones return to Oran, most people showed their love as they "realized the danger to which they were exposing their loved ones, and resigned themselves to enduring separation", so as to ensure the health of their beloveds, they prove their capacity to love despite the pain of the loneliness of the pestilence. Castel is an exception to this; when his wife and he, were confronted with the plague they realized the strength of their love, and decided that life was not worth living without the other, thus she returns to Oran. In the same way, Rambert believes that he is a "stranger in this town" and wants more than anything to be reunited with his girlfriend. He believes that he was "put on earth to be with a woman", and despite the mental health challenges that arose due to the plague, his ability to love was initially not altered. Thus at the beginning of the "disgusting infestation", people remained stalwart in their ability to love, however this absolute belief, faltered slightly for some as the novel proceeded.

As the plague persisted, we saw a division in the attitudes of people; some struggled immensely with the burden of separation, while others lost value in the worth of their initial love. Dr Rieux who prior to the plague "should have been looking after [his wife] as he had been neglecting her a lot" began to struggle greatly beneath the burden of the separation (quote re: separation and Rieux) the plague prompted. Rambert however, on the eve of his escape to be reunited with his loved one, decided that "there may be shame in being happy all by oneself", and walked away from the love of his life, and prepared himself to endure a difficult separation in order to uphold an affair with the pestilence. Although not everyone's love remained as strong; most appeared to make an effort to maintain their devotion, which we realize is usually just as sturdy, if not stronger; due to the emphasis the constant separation placed on the desire for human affection. Despite some obstacles, most people yearned,...

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