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Quotes

Quote #25

No, the real plague had nothing in common with the grandiose imaginings that had haunted Rieux’s mind at its outbreak. It was, about all, a shrewd, unflagging adversary; a skilled organizer, doing his work thoroughly and well. That, it may be said in passing, is why, so as not to play false to the facts, and still more, so as not to play false to himself, the narrator has aimed for objectivity. (3.1.23)

The reality of the plague is entirely different from Rieux’s imaginings; the narrator admits as much in an attempt for objective credibility.

Quote #26

"Ah," Rieux aid, "a man can’t cure and know at the same time. So let’s cure as quickly as we can. That’s the more urgent job." (4.2.80)

Again with the oversimplification. Rieux blinds himself from the complications of the plague – and thus protects himself from its mental anguish – by putting his head down and just doing his job.

Quote #27

This chronicle is drawing to an end, and this seems to be the moment for Dr. Bernard Rieux to confess that he is the narrator. But before describing the closing scenes, he would wish anyhow to justify his undertaking and to set it down that he expressly made a point of adopting the tone of an impartial observer. His profession put him in touch with a great many of our townspeople while plague was raging, and he had opportunities of hearing their various opinions. Thus he was well placed for giving a true account of all he saw and heard. (5.5.1)

Here is where Camus’s message about objective truth hits home; Rieux is made foolish by repeatedly insisting that he’s telling the objective truth. Yet just as his own experiences during the plague outbreak taint his perception of the events that have transpired, so does any person’s experiences in the world prevent his ever knowing objective truth.

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