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.
Cottard protested that he’d never wanted the plague, it was pure chance that it had broken out, and he wasn’t to blame if it happened to make things easier for him just now. (2.9.209)
In Tarrou’s world of people vs. pestilence, on which side does Cottard fall? He refuses to fight the plague, and he’s certainly in passive favor of it, but does this put him on the side of the pestilence?
"I suggested to him," Tarrou continues, "that the surest way of not being cut of from others was having a clean conscience." (4.1.16)
It’s important to note that while Tarrou abhors the death penalty and befriends Cottard, he’s far from a pro-criminal stance. The man clearly has a strict moral rubric, even if he refuses to aggressively force it upon others (like Cottard).
"I hope Jacques did not suffer too much."
"No," Tarrou said. "No, I couldn’t really say he suffered." (4.5.19-21)
Tarrou remarks at one point that lying takes a good deal of effort at his age and is not worth the exertion. With that established, we have to really consider the fact that he blatantly lies to M. Othon here to save the man mental anguish. This is even more interesting when we remember how much Tarrou despises judges (and in fact anyone involved in criminal prosecution). This means that Tarrou, despite the intensity of his emotions, is able to look beyond the roles people play into society and see them as real people with real emotions – more, he would claim, than a judge could do for a criminal.