by Albert Camus
The Plague Time Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Stuart Gilbert's translation.
"Does that mean it’s starting all over again?" Tarrou asked Rieux. (4.7.42)
Tarrou’s question is best seen in the context of the end of the novel, where Rieux indeed declares the plague will start again. The suggestion is that any event repeats, that in fact time itself is cyclical.
For the sensation, confused perhaps, but none the less poignant for that, of all those days and weeks and months of life lost to their love made them vaguely feel they were entitled to some compensation; this present hour of joy should run at half the speed of those long hours of waiting. (5.4.4)
Look back at Part I, Chapter Five, where the narrator discusses how people rather stupidly think time should speed up and slow down according to rational thinking. Looks like no one learned anything from the plague, doesn’t it?
Such people had had, like Rieux himself, the rashness of counting overmuch on time; and now they were parted forever. (5.4.14)
The Plague would remind us that we can neither count on time to be reasonable nor control it in any way. Rieux, perhaps, fell victim to one or both of these errors in thought.