SocraticDev logo

Camus has already said a lot about the pandemic

Monday May 18th 2020 by SocraticDev

The novel The Plague by Albert Camus was published in June 1947. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, many readers have obtained a copy of the book or have searched their libraries to reread it.

We follow the evolution of the plague in a city in French Algeria. It is especially the journey of Doctor Bernard Rieux that makes us penetrate into the spirit of this city which goes from denial, to anger, to negotiation and acceptance.

The narrator subtly presents philosophical themes and questions such as anxiety and the absurdity of human existence. Camus even offers a wink to friends with the death on stage of an actor performing Orpheus and Eurydice at the municipal opera house.

Cottard, a conscious man in the walled city

The only way to put people together is to send them the plague.

"There was, however, in the city a man who seemed neither exhausted nor discouraged, and who remained the living image of satisfaction. It was Cottard."

With that one (Tarrou), Cottard said to Rambert, we can chat because he is a man. We are always understood.

"Thus Cottard, and always according to Tarrou's interpretation, was justified in considering the symptoms of anguish and distress that our fellow citizens presented with this indulgent and understanding satisfaction which could be expressed by a: 'Speak always, I have had it before you '. "

You hear them, he told me: after the plague I will do this, after the plague I will do that ... And they do not even realize their benefits [...] They are unhappy because that they don't let go. And I know what I'm saying.

"[...] But because he felt all this before them, I believe that he cannot quite experience with them the cruelty of this uncertainty [...] But since he himself lived in terror, he finds it normal for others to know it in turn."

Translated from french by Google Translate