Exile and the Kingdom
Amid the feverish horror of rampant sickness and death, The Plague is a parable of human remoteness and the struggle to share existence. In studying the relationships which Camus sets forth, the relationship between man and lover, mother and son, healer and diseased, it can be seen that the only relationship Camus describes is that between the exiled, and the kingdom for which he searches with tortured longing.
"Thus the first thing that plague brought to our town was exile."(p.71). The first exile Camus writes is the physical exile of a diseased town from the world, and consequently, the exile of the town's people from the kingdom of everyday. The particular torture of this exile is memory; once expelled from a kingdom, the kingdom ceases to exist, living on only as "a memory that serves no purpose... ha[s] a savor only of regret."(p.73). Thus the townspeople are haunted by memories of their distant loved ones and their interrupted lives, creating islands of their own exile- an exile intensified by years of monotonous selfish habit. "The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits."(p.4). The pea-counter is the ultimate representation of this exile; he is...
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