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The Plague

The Plague

by Albert Camus

Suffering Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #19

"Since the order of the world is shaped by death, mightn’t it be better for God if we refuse to believe in Him and struggle with all our might against death, without raising our eyes toward the heaven where He sits in silence."

Tarrou nodded.

"Yes. But your victories will never be lasting; that’s all."

Rieux’s face darkened.

"Yes, I know that. But it’s no reason for giving up the struggle."

"No reason, I agree. Only, I now can picture what this plague must mean for you."

"Yes. A never ending defeat."…

"Who taught you all this, doctor?"

The reply came promptly:

  • "Suffering." (2.7.66-75)

  • Rieux describes suffering as a teacher; this is an important point, especially since he credits this principle as the main impetus for his narrative.

    Quote #20

    From now on, indeed, poverty showed itself stronger stimulus than fear. (3.1.16)

    Fear is not so great, so you can imagine how bad a situation would have to be for reality to be worse than anything you could imagine and dread.

    Quote #21

    It was wrong to say: "This I understand, but that I cannot accept"; we must go straight to the heart of that which is unacceptable, precisely because it is thus that we are constrained to make our choice. The sufferings of children were our bread of affliction, but without this bread our souls would die of spiritual hunger. (4.4.12)

    Father Paneloux again tries to justify suffering, when in the world of The Plague there is no rationale for any event.

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