by Albert Camus
The Plague Philosophical Viewpoints: The Absurd, Existentialism, Humanism Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Stuart Gilbert's translation.
When Rieux next met Castel, the Prefect’s remark was still rankling.
"Orders!" he said scornfully. "When what’s needed is imagination." (1.8.94-95)
This is the first of two instances when we hear the term "imagination" in regards to fighting the pestilence (the second is uttered by Tarrou in an argument for volunteer teams). The Plague reminds us that, to prepare and act adequately, we have to be aware of more than just the present moment. We have to be conscious of possibilities – we have to imagine.
Hitherto, surprised as he may have been by the strange things happening around him, each individual citizen had gone about his business as usual, so far as this was possible. And no doubt he would have continued doing so. (2.1.1)
This doesn’t sound terribly different from pre-plague Oran, does it?
Thus each of us had to be content to live only for the day, alone under the vast indifference of the sky. (2.1.14)
There’s Camus’s favorite word again – indifference. The universe, he tells us, is in different to our suffering, just as this particular sky is indifferent to the people of Oran.