The Plague

Battle Against Crisis at the Conclusion of The Plague

The last two paragraphs of The Plague emphasize Camus’ belief that even during a crisis, humans must always fight against death even if that battle will be a constant struggle without victory.

Rieux deems the stubborn and communal fight of man against death as the most essential element of human response to crisis. As he ends his narrative, he points out that his story was not one of his seemingly heroic decision to fight the plague, but was rather “only the record of what had had to be done, and what assuredly would have to be done again in the never ending fight against terror” (308). His emphasis on “only” indicates that he believes his response to the plague, and in a larger sense, to crises, is not exceptionally heroic, but is only natural, proper, and simply “common decency” (163). In addition, by choosing to use “had had” instead of just “had”, which would have not changed the apparent meaning of the sentence, Rieux further stresses the necessity of a persistent struggle against death. He continues his sentence with additional words, “assuredly” and “would have” that also highlight his belief in fighting against death. Though he knows that the battle against death will be “never ending” (308), he still urges humans to...

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