Symbolism in Camus' The Plague

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA, November 1996

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For the first essay for Integrative Studies 300 I would like to write on the Camus

work, The Plague. Since Albert Camus has a philosophical view unlike that of many

western writers, the book can serve as an excellent reflection on an unpopular view of

life, living, and death. Life without a god poses many ironies; Camus attempts to satisfy

those ironies.

By using many examples of symbolism, Camus conveys his own philosophy in a

certain way so that his characters are subject to his personal ideals and morals. Camus

believes there is no god, and essentially that human beings need to be responsible for

their own lives, happiness, and decency. Through the eyes of all of his characters, the

author answers questions like: 'Why be optimistic?', 'Why be moral?', 'Why live if we

are just going to die?', and 'Why hope?'.

Camus contends that there are human values that are good in themselves; it is just

good to be moral.

In this essay I plan to connect the characters, symbolism, and my

personal feelings and values with this idea. Such evidence as people being good to a

neighbor in time of need or people volunteering to adopt a family for the holidays are

many times based on a desire to simply do something good, not a necessarily a desire to

please a god or receive a reward.

Finally, without a god (or even with a god for that matter) Camus says that we

need to be responsible and create our own hope. By looking carefully at the characters in

the book, I plan to also show Camus' press for responsibility among the people. The

ultimate goal of this essay is to make prominent Camus philosophical views of a godless

world in which the people hold the...