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.
"Poor Monsieur Othon!" Tarrou murmured as the gate closed behind them. "One would like to do something to help him. But how can you help a judge?" (4.5.30)
Tarrou gets a wee bit preachy here. Rather than admit that his feelings for the judge are subjective, he takes the stance that the magistrate, simply because of his position, cannot possibly be saved. This is possibly the furthest we ever see Tarrou from his stance of objective detachment.
"What happened in a court had always seemed to me a natural, as much in the order of things, as a military parade on the Fourteenth of July of a school speech day. My notions on the subject were purely abstract, and I’d never given it serious thought." (4.6.19)
Tarrou’s initial abstract notions of the court are identical to the way Rieux describes his own initial impressions of the medical field.
"The only picture I carried away with me of that day’s proceedings was a picture of the criminal. I have little doubt he was guilty—of what crime is no great matter. That little man of about thirty, with sparse, sandy hair, seemed to eager to confess everything, so genuinely horrified at what he’d done and what was going to be done with him, that after a few minutes I had eyes for nothing and nobody else. He looked like a yellow owl scared blind by too much light. His tie was slightly awry and he kept biting his nails, those of one hand only, his right…I needn’t go on, need I? You’ve understood—he was a living human being." (4.6.20)
Tarrou is probably not conscious of it, but he describes the criminal with the same imagery – that of an owl – with which he earlier described M. Othon, the police magistrate. While he refuses to confine the criminal to his role of "criminal," he repeatedly did as much to the magistrate; the connective imagery reminds us of as much.