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ib4walrus's picture

The real plague

For me the real plague that I think Camus is writing (and warning) about is the one within ourselves like you mention.  The bacillus plague brought on by the rats was just a device used in order to highlight the issues "plaguing" our society.  Looking specifically at the reaction (or lack of) at the beginning of this horrendous spectacle, the fact that most of the citizens were not alarmed was an indication of their reluctance to acknowledge an event that would disturb their lives.  In this sense their lack of action is actually their active resistance against their fears.  For instance, M. Michel's attempt to rationalize an irrational phenomena (claiming that delinquents were planting the mangled rats) is a defense used in order to maintain his sense of security.  The individualistic lives of the townspeople and their concern with only themselves may be what Camus warns us to try and fight against.  We are a sociable species and should require cooperation from one another in times of distress.  Without the sense of community, we would be nothing. 

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