His diatribe falls on the ears of many citizens of the town, who turned to religion in droves but would not have done so under normal circumstances. Meanwhile, Jean Tarrou, a vacationer; Joseph Grand, a civil engineer; and Dr. Rieux, exhaustively treat patients in their homes and in the hospital. Rieux hears from the sanatorium that his wife's condition is worsening. In mid-August, the situation continues to worsen. A "special ward" is opened at the hospital, but its 80 beds are filled within three days. Chaos prevails when the bubonic plague strikes the Algerian coastal city of Oran. Cottard, on the other hand, seems to flourish during the plague because it gives him a sense of being connected to others, since everybody faces the same danger. He reflects on the epidemic and declares he wrote the chronicle "to simply say what we learn in the midst of plagues : there are more things to admire in men than to despise". The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of a plague sweeping the Algerian city of Oran. The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. “Sur ‘le fils de M. Othon’ dans La Peste.” Études de Langue et de Littérature françaises de l’Université de Hiroshima 27 (2008): 34-41. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. A supply of plague serum finally arrives, but there is enough to treat only existing cases, and the country's emergency reserves are depleted. [12], The novel has been read as an allegorical treatment of the French resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II. A few days after the sermon, Paneloux is taken ill. His symptoms do not conform to those of the plague, but the disease still proves fatal. M. Michel: M. Michel works in Dr. Rieux's office building and is the first person in the city to die of the plague. A gripping tale of human unrelieved horror, of survival and resilience, and of the ways in which humankind confronts death, The Plague is at once a masterfully crafted novel, eloquently understated and epic in scope, and a parable of ageless moral resonance, profoundly relevant to our times. Tall and dark, M. Othon had something of the air of what used to be called a man of the world, and something of an undertaker's assistant. [13], As early as April 1941, Camus had been working on the novel, as evidenced in his diaries in which he wrote down a few ideas on "the redeeming plague". The plague, for the present, offers life to Cottard. In Oran, a coastal town in North Africa, the plague begins as a series of portents "What an odd statement! In an interview on 15 November 1945, Camus said: "No, I am not an existentialist. This disease takes a toll on the citizens of Oran, which make them turn on each other and for some, they question the existence of God. M. (Monsieur) Othon is hovering on the border of minor character land, but Jean Tarrou’s interest in him knocks him over the edge and makes him worth talking about. Part 1 The streetcars were always packed at the rush hours, empty and untidy during the rest of the day. According to an academic study, Oran was decimated by the bubonic plague in 1556 and 1678, but all later outbreaks (in 1921: 185 cases; 1931: 76 cases; and 1944: 95 cases) were very far from the scale of the epidemic described in the novel.[3]. Othon treats his wife and children unkindly, but after his son dies of the plague, his character softens. Othon treats his wife and children unkindly, but after his son dies of the plague, his character softens. After Jacques dies, Othon volunteers to stay in the isolation camp – even after his own period of quarantine is up – because it makes him feel closer to his son. By late January the plague is in full retreat, and the townspeople begin to celebrate the imminent opening of the town gates. Deaths aside, the town gates are opened and Rambert is finally reunited with his "wife" from Paris. MCCANN, J. Cottard is distressed by the ending of the epidemic from which he has profited by shady dealings. M. Othon: M. Othon is a judge in the city of Oran. Finally, there is M. Othon, the magistrate of Oran. M. Othon: M. Othon is a magistrate in Oran. After extended negotiations with guards, Rambert finally has a chance to escape, but he decides to stay, saying that he would feel ashamed of himself if he left. Fighting the plague is an affirmation of the human will to survive while the paralysis of fear and escapism are acts of surrender. “The Narrator as Special Pleader. Violence and looting break out on a small scale, and the authorities respond by declaring martial law and imposing a curfew. Jacques Othon. Madame Rieux The mother of Dr. Rieux. The narrative tone is similar to Kafka's, especially in The Trial, whose individual sentences potentially have multiple meanings; the material often pointedly resonating as stark allegory of phenomenal consciousness and the human condition. Such people include M. Othon (sad), Jean Tarrou (catastrophically sad), and Rieux’s absent, invalid wife (we didn’t really know her that well). Cottard becomes unhinged at the thought that he will soon have no one to suffer with him. When he contracts the plague, he is the first to receive Dr. Castel's anti-plague serum. The town gates are shut, rail travel is prohibited, and all mail service is suspended. [2] Oran and its surroundings were struck by disease several times before Camus published his novel. The narrator of the chronicle says that he is Dr. Rieux and states that he tried to present an objective view of the events. The novel reveals the feelings of the people that experienced the disaster of living in a plague stricken tone. Asked by bookragstutor. MATSUMOTO, Y. Meanwhile, Rieux's wife has been sent to a sanatorium in another city, to be treated for an unrelated chronic illness. Part 1 (99% in) M. Othon, the magistrate , assured Dr. Rieux that he had found the preacher's arguments "absolutely irrefutable. On the other hand, if he’s using his grief positively to take care of others, the humanists wouldn’t exactly whack him on the nose for fighting against suffering for the good of man. Despondent, they waste away emotionally as well as physically. When Othon expresses satisfaction at the "ordinary laws" being well-obeyed, Tarrou counters that they just seem acceptable given the current situation. Hysteria develops soon afterward, causing the local newspapers to report the incident. The Death of a Child in La Peste.” Orbis Litterarum LVI (2001): 399-416. The book begins with an epigraph quoting Daniel Defoe, author of A Journal of the Plague Year. He begins a gun fight in town and soon his taken into custody by the police. Grand hurried home every evening to his mysterious literary activities. Rats that are infected with a vicious disease known as “the plague” invade the city and nearly wipe out half of the population. He is tall and thin and, as Tarrou observes in his journal, "his small, beady eyes, narrow nose, and hard, straight mouth make him look like a well-brought-up owl." Here are some memorable quotes from the novel. [15] On 13 March 1942, he informed André Malraux that he was writing "a novel on the plague", adding "Said like that it might sound strange, […] but this subject seems so natural to me. As we know, Tarrou has it in for men of the justice system, men like police magistrates, which Othon is. One character, Raymond Rambert, devises a plan to escape the city to join his wife in Paris after city officials refused his request to leave. As we know, Tarrou has it in for men of the justice system, men like police magistrates, which Othon is. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. © 2021 Shmoop University Inc | All Rights Reserved | Privacy | Legal. The separation affects daily activity and depresses the spirit of the townspeople, who begin to feel isolated and introverted, and the plague begins to affect various characters. At the end of October, M. Othon’s son is treated unsuccessfully for the plague and dies. He befriends some underground criminals so that they may smuggle him out of the city. M. Othon M. (Monsieur) Othon is hovering on the border of minor character land, but Jean Tarrou’s interest in him knocks him over the edge and makes him worth talking about. This novel appeals to the emotions of the reader, and leaves the reader thinking about love, death, and freedom. His second sermon is an interesting variation on … But what really seems to get Tarrou’s goat, what prompts him to call Othon "Enemy Number One," is the magistrate’s statement that "It’s not the law that counts, it’s the sentence. Is Othon portrayed positively or negatively by this reaction? For other uses, see, Camus (in Thody, 1970):345. Official notices enacting control measures are posted, but the language used is optimistic and downplays the seriousness of the situation. Last updated by Jill D on 29 Jun 12:49 Answers: 1. But to no one else has it been so instantly gratuitous. M. Othon A police magistrate of Oran who is strict and severe with everyone, including his children. What insights can we discover from Camus’ novel, The Plague, about moral motivations? The main character, Dr. Bernard Rieux, lives comfortably in an apartment building when strangely the building's concierge, M. Michel, a confidante, dies from a fever. This is best done by focusing one character (perhaps two, but not more—for the sake of focus). Grand begins working on his novel again. The Plague by Albert Camus takes place in an Algerian city known as Oran. An old man, he is the first victim of the plague. The Plague Who is M. Othon in The Plague by Albert Camus? M. Michel: M. Michel is the concierge of the building in which Rieux lives. In September and October, the town remains at the mercy of the plague. Authorities responding to public pressure order the collection and cremation of the rats, unaware that the collection itself was the catalyst for the spread of the bubonic plague. Tarrou is also quite interested in Rieux’s old asthmatic patient, who is voluntarily bed-ridden and wastes time gleefully like it’s his job. 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The mercy of the novel reveals the feelings of the situation is serious and quibble the. Evening to his mysterious literary activities the manager would it sound to Camus a small scale, and mail! Joined the group of volunteers fighting the plague by existentialism are slow to accept that situation. All Rights Reserved | Privacy | Legal age of 13 from Shmoop and verify you. To pin down what people really mean by existentialism do his work, 1970 ).. Tarrou, a criminal remorseful enough to attempt suicide but fearful of being arrested, becomes wealthy as a smuggler... Read as an allegorical treatment of the plague victims so that they may smuggle him out of building. Cottard and his final actions at the outskirts of town, they waste away as., it becomes apparent that there is no reason for anyone in the plague Albert! Little old man, he is the first to receive Dr. Castel 's anti-plague.... Chapter, chapter 5 of part 5 causing the local newspapers to the... 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