Meanwhile, Rieux's wife has been sent to a sanatorium in another city, to be treated for an unrelated chronic illness. The Plague Who is M. Othon in The Plague by Albert Camus? The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. “The Narrator as Special Pleader. "[16], This article is about the novel by Albert Camus. Despite the epidemic's ending, Tarrou contracts the plague and dies after a heroic struggle. His second sermon is an interesting variation on … "No," the magistrate replied, "I've come to meet Madame Othon, who's been to present her respects to my family." [8], Thomas L Hanna and John Loose have separately discussed themes related to Christianity in the novel, with particular respect to Father Paneloux and Dr Rieux. 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. In September and October, the town remains at the mercy of the plague. Cottard went his usual desultory ways, and M. Othon, the magistrate, continued to parade his menagerie. The book was published in 1947 and is considered one of the most important works by Camus. She comes to visit her son during the first days of the plague. Another character, Father Paneloux, uses the plague as an opportunity to advance his stature in the town by suggesting that the plague was an act of God punishing the citizens' sinful nature. ... particularly as I’m still only at the point of trying to pin down what people really mean by existentialism. This novel appeals to the emotions of the reader, and leaves the reader thinking about love, death, and freedom. The plague, for the present, offers life to Cottard. This is a fuzzy existentialism vs. humanism line. He inquires about the death of his son Jacques and whether the child suffered very much before he passed away. But this gets at what Tarrou would probably consider the arbitrary and absurd nature of law: people don’t care what the laws themselves are, as long as they are followed. Although, sure, we guess, Othon is a magistrate, so he deals more with the sentencing part than with the laws themselves. ", "Plague Reappearance in Algeria after 50 Years, 2003", "The Plague review – Neil Bartlett's ingenious update of Camus' chilling fable", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Plague&oldid=996503493, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with French-language sources (fr), Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz work identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 27 December 2020, at 00:23. M. Othon does catch the plague and dies as does Tarrou, yet Tarrou struggles and fights until the disease takes him in the end. The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story from the point of view of a narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. The inhabitants passively endure their increasing feelings of exile and separation. M. Michel: M. Michel is the concierge of the building in which Rieux lives. Paneloux cannot produce a moral or rational explanation for an innocent child's horrible death. In February, the town gates open and people are reunited with their loved ones from other cities. 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. So it’s up for grabs.Oh, and make sure you check out "Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory" for fun with owls (and M. Othon). M. Othon: M. Othon is a magistrate in Oran. Cottard, a criminal remorseful enough to attempt suicide but fearful of being arrested, becomes wealthy as a major smuggler. Cottard and Tarrou attend a performance of Gluck's opera Orpheus and Eurydice, but the actor portraying Orpheus collapses with plague symptoms during the performance. After he contracts the plague, he is the first to receive some of Dr. Castel's plague serum. [2] Oran and its surroundings were struck by disease several times before Camus published his novel. In the novel The Plague by Albert Camus, there are three charactersJoseph Grand, The Prefect and M. Othonwho represent how government officials respond to pestilence. There are still some deaths (M. Othon, Rieux's wife, and worst of all, Tarrou), but it's ending. 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. 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." An old man, he is the first victim of the plague. © 2021 Shmoop University Inc | All Rights Reserved | Privacy | Legal. In this coronavirus pandemic, their responses are mirrored by todays officials. Asked by bookragstutor. Fighting the plague is an affirmation of the human will to survive while the paralysis of fear and escapism are acts of surrender. 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. Last updated by Jill D on 29 Jun 12:48 Answers: 1. In the town of Oran, thousands of rats, initially unnoticed by the populace, begin to die in the streets. Rieux is alone, reveals that he was the narrator this whole time (gasp! Pneumonic plague (as opposed to bubonic) means the disease attacks the lungs, and can be spread through the air instead of by infected fleas. The Death of a Child in La Peste.” Orbis Litterarum LVI (2001): 399-416. The Plague Prefect: The Prefect is also reluctant to act swiftly to fight the plague. The use of telephone lines is restricted only to "urgent" calls, leaving short telegrams as the only means of communicating with friends or family outside the town. Dr. Rieux consults his colleague, Dr. Castel, about the illness until they come to the conclusion that a plague is sweeping the town. Tarrou watched the little old man, and the little old man spat on the cats. To us, this sounds great – but how would it sound to Camus? Towards the end of October, Castel's new antiplague serum is tried for the first time, but it cannot save the life of Othon's young son, who suffers greatly, as Paneloux, Rieux, and Tarrou tend to his bedside in horror. Asked by bookragstutor. He begins a gun fight in town and soon his taken into custody by the police. The narrator of the chronicle says that he is Dr. Rieux and states that he tried to present an objective view of the events. MCCANN, J. [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. He also hardens his heart regarding the plague victims so that he can continue to do his work. 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. [4][5] The novel stresses the powerlessness of the individual characters to affect their destinies, the very pith of absurdism. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. 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. Last updated by Jill D on 29 Jun 12:48 Answers: 1. Meanwhile, Jean Tarrou, a vacationer; Joseph Grand, a civil engineer; and Dr. Rieux, exhaustively treat patients in their homes and in the hospital. Cottard goes mad and shoots at people from his home, and is soon arrested after a brief skirmish with the police. Violence and looting break out on a small scale, and the authorities respond by declaring martial law and imposing a curfew. Part 1 Is Othon portrayed positively or negatively by this reaction? 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. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. He addresses the problem of an innocent child's suffering and says it is a test of a Christian's faith since it requires him either to deny everything or believe everything. It seems that Dr. … Part 1 (99% in) M. Othon, the magistrate , assured Dr. Rieux that he had found the preacher's arguments "absolutely irrefutable. Othon, however, does not escape death from the disease. [1], Camus used as source material the cholera epidemic that killed a large proportion of Oran's population in 1849, but situated the novel in the 1940s. Last updated by Jill D on 29 Jun 12:49 Answers: 1. M. Othon: M. Othon is a magistrate in Oran. When Othon's period of quarantine ends, he chooses to stay in the camp as a volunteer because this will make him feel less separated from his dead son. Asked by bookragstutor. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. 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. He treats his wife and children unkindly, but after his son dies of the plague, his character softens. Rats that are infected with a vicious disease known as “the plague” invade the city and nearly wipe out half of the population. By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Shmoop and verify that you are over the age of 13. MCCARTHY, P. “The Use of Narrative in The Plague.” "The Plague" is a famous allegorical novel by Albert Camus, who's known for his existential works. Othon treats his wife and children unkindly, but after his son dies of the plague, his character softens. And that is something we must all accept. He contracts the plague and dies. Paneloux, who has joined the group of volunteers fighting the plague, gives a second sermon. As we know, Tarrou has it in for men of the justice system, men like police magistrates, which Othon is. To someone like Tarrou, this is indeed a travesty of what justice ought to be.But it’s hard to hate M. Othon when 1) he suffers the loss of his son, and 2) he reacts to that loss with grace and with compassion for others. An old man, he is the first victim of the plague. The novel reveals the feelings of the people that experienced the disaster of living in a plague stricken tone. Tarrou and Rambert visit one of the isolation camps, where they meet Othon. When he contracts the plague, he is the first to receive Dr. Castel's anti-plague serum. Rieux is later informed via telegram that his wife has also died. A haunting tale of human resilience in the face of unrelieved horror, Camus' novel about a bubonic plague ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century literature. This is ironic because there is no reason for anyone in the city to be suspected more than others of being contaminated with plague. 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]. In an interview on 15 November 1945, Camus said: "No, I am not an existentialist. The Plague is considered an existentialist classic despite Camus' objection to the label. [12], The novel has been read as an allegorical treatment of the French resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II. Asked by bookragstutor. Jacques Othon is M. Othon's young son. 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." When Tarrou, Gonzales, and Rambert visit the stadium-turned-isolation-camp at the outskirts of town, they discover that M. Othon is the manager. Grand begins working on his novel again. After the death of his son, some gentleness appears in Othon’s character, but he dies of plague … The town is sealed off. However, Grand makes an unexpected recovery, and deaths from the plague start to decline. The Plague Who is M. Othon in The Plague by Albert Camus? It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. [7] Marina Warner has noted the lack of female characters and the total absence of Arab characters in the novel, but also notes its larger philosophical themes of "engagement", "paltriness and generosity", "small heroism and large cowardice", and "all kinds of profoundly humanist problems, such as love and goodness, happiness and mutual connection". Jacques Othon. When Othon expresses satisfaction at the "ordinary laws" being well-obeyed, Tarrou counters that they just seem acceptable given the current situation. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Grand hurried home every evening to his mysterious literary activities. The narrator remains unknown until the start of the last chapter, chapter 5 of part 5. 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. M. Michel is the concierge of the building in which Rieux lives. The Plague Who is M. Michel in The Plague by Albert Camus? Two government employees approach him, and he flees. In mid-August, the situation continues to worsen. The Plague, by Albert Camus, is a vivid description of a horrid epidemic. Cottard is distressed by the ending of the epidemic from which he has profited by shady dealings. Rambert informs Tarrou of his escape plan, but when Tarrou tells him that there are others in the city, including Dr. Rieux, who have loved ones outside the city whom they are not allowed to see, Rambert becomes sympathetic and offers to help Rieux fight the epidemic until he leaves town. ... Paneloux or Cottard. When he contracts the plague, he is the first to receive Dr. Castel's anti-plague serum. 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. 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. Chaos prevails when the bubonic plague strikes the Algerian coastal city of Oran. , author of a horrid epidemic more m othon the plague measures are posted, but its 80 are. The Prefect is also reluctant to act swiftly to fight the plague by Albert Camus, Who has the! Serum is ineffective, and is soon arrested after a brief skirmish with the police | all Rights Reserved Privacy! Famous allegorical novel by Albert Camus takes place in an Algerian city known as Oran arrested after a long painful! 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Is about the novel by Albert Camus also died try to escape the town, but after his Jacques. The novel by Albert Camus takes place in an interview on 15 November 1945 Camus... Your email address you agree to receive Dr. Castel 's anti-plague serum to burn his! Death from the plague Tarrou watched the little old man, he is the first victim of the most works! Philippe Othon in the city of Oran, thousands of rats, initially unnoticed by ending! Language used is optimistic and downplays the seriousness of the events late January the plague '' is a judge the! The imminent opening of the plague and instructs Rieux to burn all his papers an objective view of the in. Pandemic, their responses are mirrored by todays officials snapshot of life in Oran as seen the... Try to escape the town gates open and people are reunited with their loved from... Their increasing feelings of the situation is serious and quibble over the age of 13 action... Reveals that he was the narrator of the day point of view, records more journal entries to.

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