© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Plague

The Plague


by Albert Camus

The Plague Criminality Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Stuart Gilbert's translation.

Quote #4

"Quite the contrary. Criminal cases of what we call the first instance are growing rarer. In fact, almost my only work just now is holding inquiries into more serious breaches of the new regulations. Our ordinary laws have never been so well respected."

"That’s because, by contrast, they necessarily appear good ones," Tarrou observed. (2.9.70-1)

Tarrou reminds us that laws, too, are subjective.

Quote #5

"What does that matter? It’s not the law that counts; it’s the sentence. And that is something we must all accept."

"That fellow," said Tarrou when the magistrate was out of hearing, "is Enemy Number One." (2.9.73-4)

Tarrou resents the magistrate for his blind faith in the system of justice, and his ignorance of the humanity of those men he would so easily condemn.

Quote #6

"It’s something that happened ages ago," he began. "Somehow they’ve dug it up. I thought it had all been forgotten. […] And I felt pretty sure they’d end up by arresting me."


"And is that the reason," Tarrou asked, "why you had the bright idea of hanging yourself?"

"Yes. It was a damn-fool thing to do, I admit." (2.9.185-202)

Why does Cottard attempt suicide? It seems as though he doesn’t feel guilty as much as he feels afraid of getting caught.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...