The Plague Dreams, Hopes, and Plans Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Stuart Gilbert's translation.
The morning noises of the streets sounded louder, gayer than usual. For everyone in our little town this day brought the promise of a new lease of life, now that the shadow of fear under which they had been living for a week had lifted. Rieux, too, was in an optimistic mood when he went down to see the concierge; he had been cheered up by a letter from his wife that had come with the first mail. (1.2.119)
Right from the start of the novel, we see the falsity and uselessness of hope.
His limbs spread out by the ganglia, embedded in the berth as if he were trying to bury himself in it or a voice from the depths of the earth was summoning him below, the unhappy an seemed to be stifling under some unseen pressure. His wife was sobbing.
"Isn’t there any hope left, doctor?"
"He’s dead," Rieux replied. (1.2.125-27)
Exactly. Falsity? Check. Uselessness? Got it.
Our townsfolk were not more to blame than others; they forgot to be modest, that was all, and thought that everything still was possible for them; which presupposed that pestilences were impossible. They went on doing business, arranged for journeys, and formed views. How should they have given a thought to anything like plague, which rules out any future, cancels journeys, silences the exchange of views. They fancied themselves free, and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences. (1.5.3)
Implied, of course, is the following thought that pestilences will never be gone and man therefore would never be free. This is clearly the narrator’s point-of-view, but is it that of Camus as well? Not exactly. Camus would argue that through consciousness and acceptance, man can be free even while there are pestilences.