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“The Plague” by Albert Camus Critique

The biggest problem of our life is its ending. However, this can happen either when the time comes or undesirable due to some disease. The Plague is a perfect representation of a horror that took many people’s lives. The book represents the circumstances that a town in Algeria had to face. The main hero of the book is Dr. Rieux who is severely challenged by the plague and hundreds of people who he cannot heal. He watches his friends dying and completely reconsiders this life’s values. The book describes how the specific society perceived this life as being colorless and meaningless. However, once the plague strikes the town, it is evident that people have their attitudes and values change.

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The main character of the book Dr. Rieux despite others’ sorrows takes an optimistic view and seeks the way out of this complicated situation. He declared: “And, be it said to the credit of mankind, they are more numerous than one would think” (Camus, p. 132) about people who didn’t refuse to fight for their lives, whereas some really gave up. There is no doubt we are talking about a strong person with the strength of will, the one who is able to face any challenges, the one who I admire personally and would like to have the same optimistic view on many life’s facets. Dr. Rieux embodies the virtues of a true fighter. Indeed, he represents the best human feature ever – the ability to help other humans just like him no matter what: “…I feel more fellowship with the defeated than with the saints. Heroism and sanctity don’t really appeal to me, I imagine. What interests me is being a man” (Camus, p. 255). I would like to possess this endlessly good altruistic trait that Dr. Rieux acquired. The Plague gives us an amazing description of a person whom we lack today in our society. Therefore, it is a pity that people get together only when there is a need for that or the threat. My utmost desire is to practice doing “good” just for the sake of helping people without any benefit.

Though there is another hero of our times that Rx for Survival introduces to us. His name is David Heymann. Some consider him to be a real polio fitter. Indeed, in the 1970s when the Earth was under the smallpox threat, he said his words, did his deeds, and saved thousands of little children and grownups from this disease in India and all over the world. Now, it might seem somewhat unclear what is so fantastic about what he did. However, back in the 1970s he successfully vaccinated the disease off this planet. This makes us compare David Heymann with Dr. Rieux from The Plague. Both prominent men did great jobs to facilitate people’s lives. However, the only contrast between them is that Dr. Rieux knew everything was in vain though kept on fighting, whereas Heymann believed in the success of his program from the very start.

So, it is important to mention that the course was very informative for me. I got acquainted with prominent characters whom I would like to follow in specific situations when life challenge to make the right choice. Though everybody has to remember that: “It is important to know that choice embraces what we choose not to do as well as what we choose to do” (Devettere, p.1)


Camus, Albert., Gilbert, Stuart. The Plague. New York: Vintage, 1991. Print.

Devettere, Raymond J. Practical Decision Making in Health Care Ethics: Cases and Concepts. Georgetown: Georgetown University Press, 2009.Print.

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