Study Guide

The Plague Part 2, Chapter 3

By Albert Camus

Part 2, Chapter 3

  • The first month of the plague ends with another big breakout of disease.
  • Father Paneloux, the Jesuit priest we met earlier, gives sermons on individualism, which we assume instructs people on how to be self-reliant.
  • Not surprisingly, everyone’s become quite religious since the breakout.
  • Actually, the narrator clarifies, it’s more that they’re indifferent to religion. They’re not yet desperate or full of fervor. They’re all, "Well, if there is a God, it probably wouldn’t hurt to pray right about now."
  • So they hold a Week of Prayer. And we get to hear Father Paneloux’s sermon.
  • Paneloux tells everyone it is their own fault that the plague is upon them, that God is punishing them because he loved them but they didn’t spend enough time with him.
  • He compares their problem to the plight of Egypt.
  • Much religious rhetoric follows. But, he says, he’s not just here to condemn them for ignoring God; he has a solution.
  • That solution is…"the radiant eternal light of God […] transforming evil into good."