Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

Still, if things had gone thus far and no farther, force of habit would doubtless have gained the day, as usual. But other members of our community, not all menials or poor people, were to follow the path down which M. Michel had led the way. And it was then that fear, and with fear serious reflection, began. (1.3.1)

Notice how emotion – not reflection – spurs the citizens of Oran to action.

Quote #2

He merely replied, without looking at the police officer, that "a secret grief" described it well enough. The inspector then asked him peremptorily if he intended to "have another go at it." Showing more animation, Cottard said certainly not, his one wish was to be left in peace" (1.4.30)

Cottard’s "secret grief" is certainly one form of suffering we see in The Plague. So great is his suffering, in fact, that it drives him to attempt suicide. Is his grief best described as guilt over whatever crime he committed, or as fear of being caught?

Quote #3

"Allow me to point out, my man," the police officer rejoined with asperity, "That just now it’s you who’re troubling the peace of others." (1.4.31)

Cottard’s suffering causes suffering for others.

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