Jacques Othon is M. Othon's young son. Cottard went his usual desultory ways, and M. Othon, the magistrate, continued to parade his menagerie. MCCARTHY, P. “The Use of Narrative in The Plague.” Jacques Othon:Jacques Othon is M. Othon's young son. Is Othon portrayed positively or negatively by this reaction? Meanwhile, Jean Tarrou, a vacationer; Joseph Grand, a civil engineer; and Dr. Rieux, exhaustively treat patients in their homes and in the hospital. [9][10] Louis R Rossi briefly discusses the role of Tarrou in the novel, and the sense of philosophical guilt behind his character. So it’s up for grabs.Oh, and make sure you check out "Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory" for fun with owls (and M. Othon). MATSUMOTO, Y. The Plague An old man, he is the first victim of the plague. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Grand begins working on his novel again. The book begins with an epigraph quoting Daniel Defoe, author of A Journal of the Plague Year. © 2021 Shmoop University Inc | All Rights Reserved | Privacy | Legal. Rieux is later informed via telegram that his wife has also died. He is tall and thin and, as Tarrou observes in his journal, "his small, beady eyes, narrow nose, and hard, straight mouth make him look like a well-brought-up owl." Last updated by Jill D on 29 Jun 12:49 Answers: 1. Germaine Brée has characterised the struggle of the characters against the plague as "undramatic and stubborn", and in contrast to the ideology of "glorification of power" in the novels of André Malraux, whereas Camus' characters "are obscurely engaged in saving, not destroying, and this in the name of no ideology". The Plague by Albert Camus takes place in an Algerian city known as Oran. When he contracts the plague, he is the first to receive Dr. Castel's anti-plague serum. The town is sealed off. An old man, he is the first victim of the plague. There are still some deaths (M. Othon, Rieux's wife, and worst of all, Tarrou), but it's ending. By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Shmoop and verify that you are over the age of 13. M. Michel is the concierge of the building in which Rieux lives. Last updated by Jill D on 29 Jun 12:48 Answers: 1. In September and October, the town remains at the mercy of the plague. Here are some memorable quotes from the novel. To us, this sounds great – but how would it sound to Camus? Eulogy for a Child; specifically of Philippe Othon in Camus’ The Plague. Madame Rieux The mother of Dr. Rieux. The book was published in 1947 and is considered one of the most important works by Camus. He is tall and thin and, as Tarrou observes in his journal, "his small, beady eyes, narrow nose, and hard, straight mouth make him look like a well-brought-up owl." A "special ward" is opened at the hospital, but its 80 beds are filled within three days. His second sermon is an interesting variation on … The engine … Pneumonic plague (as opposed to bubonic) means the disease attacks the lungs, and can be spread through the air instead of by infected fleas. Chaos prevails when the bubonic plague strikes the Algerian coastal city of Oran. In this coronavirus pandemic, their responses are mirrored by todays officials. The Plague. Cottard becomes unhinged at the thought that he will soon have no one to suffer with him. Grand catches the plague and instructs Rieux to burn all his papers. He begins a gun fight in town and soon his taken into custody by the police. As we know, Tarrou has it in for men of the justice system, men like police magistrates, which Othon is. Despondent, they waste away emotionally as well as physically. On the other hand, if he’s using his grief positively to take care of others, the humanists wouldn’t exactly whack him on the nose for fighting against suffering for the good of man. According to an academic study, Oran was decimated by the bubonic plague in 1556 and 1678, but all later outbreaks (in 1921: 185 cases; 1931: 76 cases; and 1944: 95 cases) were very far from the scale of the epidemic described in the novel.[3]. Hysteria develops soon afterward, causing the local newspapers to report the incident. Tarrou, a mysterious guy, records more journal entries. When Tarrou, Gonzales, and Rambert visit the stadium-turned-isolation-camp at the outskirts of town, they discover that M. Othon is the manager. Othon, however, does not escape death from the disease. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through the author's distinctive absurdist point of view. Dr. Rieux consults his colleague, Dr. Castel, about the illness until they come to the conclusion that a plague is sweeping the town. When Othon's period of quarantine ends, he chooses to stay in the camp as a volunteer because this will make him feel less separated from his dead son. This novel appeals to the emotions of the reader, and leaves the reader thinking about love, death, and freedom. The narrator of the chronicle says that he is Dr. Rieux and states that he tried to present an objective view of the events. Othon treats his wife and children unkindly, but after his son dies of the plague, his character softens. In one sense, Othon shouldn’t really be dwelling on the past (that is, those that are dead) and wasting his time in mourning. He urges the congregation not to give up the struggle but to do everything possible to fight the plague. This is best done by focusing one character (perhaps two, but not more—for the sake of focus). A gripping tale of human unrelieved horror, of survival and resilience, and of the ways in which humankind confronts death, The Plague is at once a masterfully crafted novel, eloquently understated and epic in scope, and a parable of ageless moral resonance, profoundly relevant to our times. Rambert informs Tarrou of his escape plan, but when Tarrou tells him that there are others in the city, including Dr. Rieux, who have loved ones outside the city whom they are not allowed to see, Rambert becomes sympathetic and offers to help Rieux fight the epidemic until he leaves town. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. However, Grand makes an unexpected recovery, and deaths from the plague start to decline. “Sur ‘le fils de M. Othon’ dans La Peste.” Études de Langue et de Littérature françaises de l’Université de Hiroshima 27 (2008): 34-41. He addresses the problem of an innocent child's suffering and says it is a test of a Christian's faith since it requires him either to deny everything or believe everything. The Plague, by Albert Camus, is a vivid description of a horrid epidemic. Funerals are conducted with more speed, no ceremony and little concern for the feelings of the families of the deceased. She comes to visit her son during the first days of the plague. One character, Raymond Rambert, devises a plan to escape the city to join his wife in Paris after city officials refused his request to leave. M. Michel: M. Michel is the concierge of the building in which Rieux lives. The plague, for the present, offers life to Cottard. The Plague Who is M. Michel in The Plague by Albert Camus? Authorities, including the Prefect, are slow to accept that the situation is serious and quibble over the appropriate action to take. Tarrou watched the little old man, and the little old man spat on the cats. M. Michel. Cottard is distressed by the ending of the epidemic from which he has profited by shady dealings. The Death of a Child in La Peste.” Orbis Litterarum LVI (2001): 399-416. Part 1 (99% in) M. Othon, the magistrate , assured Dr. Rieux that he had found the preacher's arguments "absolutely irrefutable. In mid-August, the situation continues to worsen. He reflects on the epidemic and declares he wrote the chronicle "to simply say what we learn in the midst of plagues : there are more things to admire in men than to despise". The main character, Dr. Bernard Rieux, lives comfortably in an apartment building when strangely the building's concierge, M. Michel, a confidante, dies from a fever. For other uses, see, Camus (in Thody, 1970):345. Check out the conversation between these two men. Near the end of October, Dr. Castel's new anti-plague serum is ready to test. Part 1 The Plague is considered an existentialist classic despite Camus' objection to the label. The streetcars were always packed at the rush hours, empty and untidy during the rest of the day. Tarrou is also quite interested in Rieux’s old asthmatic patient, who is voluntarily bed-ridden and wastes time gleefully like it’s his job. This is a fuzzy existentialism vs. humanism line. The separation affects daily activity and depresses the spirit of the townspeople, who begin to feel isolated and introverted, and the plague begins to affect various characters. M. Othon: M. Othon is a judge in the city of Oran. Rieux is alone, reveals that he was the narrator this whole time (gasp! Rats that are infected with a vicious disease known as “the plague” invade the city and nearly wipe out half of the population. [7] Marina Warner has noted the lack of female characters and the total absence of Arab characters in the novel, but also notes its larger philosophical themes of "engagement", "paltriness and generosity", "small heroism and large cowardice", and "all kinds of profoundly humanist problems, such as love and goodness, happiness and mutual connection". Another character, Father Paneloux, uses the plague as an opportunity to advance his stature in the town by suggesting that the plague was an act of God punishing the citizens' sinful nature. ", "Plague Reappearance in Algeria after 50 Years, 2003", "The Plague review – Neil Bartlett's ingenious update of Camus' chilling fable", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Plague&oldid=996503493, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with French-language sources (fr), Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz work identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 27 December 2020, at 00:23. ... Paneloux or Cottard. As we know, Tarrou has it in for men of the justice system, men like police magistrates, which Othon is. Fighting the plague is an affirmation of the human will to survive while the paralysis of fear and escapism are acts of surrender. M. Michel: M. Michel works in Dr. Rieux's office building and is the first person in the city to die of the plague. He treats his wife and children unkindly, but after his son dies of the plague, his character softens. M. Othon today lives in officials who passively and helplessly wait for what will unfold next, … ... particularly as I’m still only at the point of trying to pin down what people really mean by existentialism. However, as more deaths quickly ensue, it becomes apparent that there is an epidemic. Asked by bookragstutor. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. Prefect: The Prefect is also reluctant to act swiftly to fight the plague. Grand hurried home every evening to his mysterious literary activities. In Oran, a coastal town in North Africa, the plague begins as a series of portents Tarrou tells Rieux the story of his life and, to take their mind off the epidemic, the two men go swimming together in the sea. The town gates are shut, rail travel is prohibited, and all mail service is suspended. Jacques Othon: The son of M. Othon, Jacques Othon dies after he receives a failed anti-plague serum. When the daily number of deaths jumps to 30, the town is sealed, and an outbreak of plague is officially declared. His diatribe falls on the ears of many citizens of the town, who turned to religion in droves but would not have done so under normal circumstances. In the novel The Plague by Albert Camus, there are three charactersJoseph Grand, The Prefect and M. Othonwho represent how government officials respond to pestilence. "What an odd statement! Paneloux, who has joined the group of volunteers fighting the plague, gives a second sermon. Rambert is reunited with his wife. When Othon expresses satisfaction at the "ordinary laws" being well-obeyed, Tarrou counters that they just seem acceptable given the current situation. [11] Elwyn Sterling has analysed the role of Cottard and his final actions at the end of the novel. Tall and dark, M. Othon had something of the air of what used to be called a man of the world, and something of an undertaker's assistant. At the end of October, M. Othon’s son is treated unsuccessfully for the plague and dies. Asked by bookragstutor. M. Othon M. (Monsieur) Othon is hovering on the border of minor character land, but Jean Tarrou’s interest in him knocks him over the edge and makes him worth talking about. The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of a plague sweeping the Algerian city of Oran. The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. Cottard and Tarrou attend a performance of Gluck's opera Orpheus and Eurydice, but the actor portraying Orpheus collapses with plague symptoms during the performance. ... M. Othon tells Tarrou his wife is in quarantine but does not change his own habits. Last updated by Jill D on 29 Jun 12:48 Answers: 1. This disease takes a toll on the citizens of Oran, which make them turn on each other and for some, they question the existence of God. The Plague study guide contains a biography of Albert Camus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. "[16], This article is about the novel by Albert Camus. The narrator remains unknown until the start of the last chapter, chapter 5 of part 5. M. Othon: M. Othon is a magistrate in Oran. The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus, published in 1947, that tells the story from the point of view of a narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. Jacques Othon Jacques is M. Othon's small son. Cottard, a criminal remorseful enough to attempt suicide but fearful of being arrested, becomes wealthy as a major smuggler. “The Narrator as Special Pleader. To someone like Tarrou, this is indeed a travesty of what justice ought to be.But it’s hard to hate M. Othon when 1) he suffers the loss of his son, and 2) he reacts to that loss with grace and with compassion for others. Cottard went his usual desultory ways, and M. Othon, the magistrate, continued to parade his menagerie. But to no one else has it been so instantly gratuitous. Raoul M Othon informs Tarrou that his Mme Othon is “under suspicion” for having taken care of her mother who has succumbed to plague. The Plague After extended negotiations with guards, Rambert finally has a chance to escape, but he decides to stay, saying that he would feel ashamed of himself if he left. Paneloux cannot produce a moral or rational explanation for an innocent child's horrible death. [4][5] The novel stresses the powerlessness of the individual characters to affect their destinies, the very pith of absurdism. M. Othon does catch the plague and dies as does Tarrou, yet Tarrou struggles and fights until the disease takes him in the end. [2] Oran and its surroundings were struck by disease several times before Camus published his novel. This is ironic because there is no reason for anyone in the city to be suspected more than others of being contaminated with plague. Homes are quarantined; corpses and burials are strictly supervised. He befriends some underground criminals so that they may smuggle him out of the city. M. Othon: M. Othon is a magistrate in Oran. [8], Thomas L Hanna and John Loose have separately discussed themes related to Christianity in the novel, with particular respect to Father Paneloux and Dr Rieux. M. Othon A police magistrate of Oran who is strict and severe with everyone, including his children. Such people include M. Othon (sad), Jean Tarrou (catastrophically sad), and Rieux’s absent, invalid wife (we didn’t really know her that well). "The Plague" is a famous allegorical novel by Albert Camus, who's known for his existential works. People try to escape the town, but some are shot by armed sentries. Or in this case, Othon doesn’t care what the laws are as long as he can sentence the men who break them. One family he observes is that of M. Othon, the police magistrate, who we can assure you will be somewhat, if peripherally, important later on. [15] On 13 March 1942, he informed André Malraux that he was writing "a novel on the plague", adding "Said like that it might sound strange, […] but this subject seems so natural to me. In an interview on 15 November 1945, Camus said: "No, I am not an existentialist. In the town of Oran, thousands of rats, initially unnoticed by the populace, begin to die in the streets. "No," the magistrate replied, "I've come to meet Madame Othon, who's been to present her respects to my family." The Plague Who is M. Michel in The Plague by Albert Camus? Official notices enacting control measures are posted, but the language used is optimistic and downplays the seriousness of the situation. It asks a number of questions relating to the nature of destiny and the human condition. The quiet crowd which suddenly breaks into a shrill crying stampede is triggered by the realization that the actor has thrust his arms and legs into the plague victims' strained, splayed last thrust for life. After the death of his son, some gentleness appears in Othon’s character, but he dies of plague … Tarrou and Rambert visit one of the isolation camps, where they meet Othon. Fewer and fewer people die each day, and Oran begins to beat the plague. But what really seems to get Tarrou’s goat, what prompts him to call Othon "Enemy Number One," is the magistrate’s statement that "It’s not the law that counts, it’s the sentence. Asked by bookragstutor. The Plague Who is M. Othon in The Plague by Albert Camus? The inhabitants passively endure their increasing feelings of exile and separation. He inquires about the death of his son Jacques and whether the child suffered very much before he passed away. They both approach fellow doctors and town authorities about their theory but are eventually dismissed on the basis of one death. By late January the plague is in full retreat, and the townspeople begin to celebrate the imminent opening of the town gates. After he contracts the plague, he is the first to receive some of Dr. Castel's plague serum. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. Although, sure, we guess, Othon is a magistrate, so he deals more with the sentencing part than with the laws themselves. After Jacques dies, Othon volunteers to stay in the isolation camp – even after his own period of quarantine is up – because it makes him feel closer to his son. Cottard goes mad and shoots at people from his home, and is soon arrested after a brief skirmish with the police. M. (Monsieur) Othon is hovering on the border of minor character land, but Jean Tarrou’s interest in him knocks him over the edge and makes him worth talking about. Despite the epidemic's ending, Tarrou contracts the plague and dies after a heroic struggle. What insights can we discover from Camus’ novel, The Plague, about moral motivations? It seems that Dr. … Othon treats his wife and children unkindly, but after his son dies of the plague, his character softens. Asked by bookragstutor. What follows is my attempt to engage with the text on this level. But this gets at what Tarrou would probably consider the arbitrary and absurd nature of law: people don’t care what the laws themselves are, as long as they are followed. Check out the conversation between these two men. As the death toll begins to rise, more desperate measures are posted, but not more—for sake! It sound to Camus been read as an allegorical treatment of the families of the system... 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