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'The Plague' Quotes

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The Plague is a famous allegorical novel by Albert Camus, who's known for his existential works. The book was published in 1947, and is considered one of the most important works by Camus. Here are a few quotes from the novel.
  • "The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits. Our citizens work hard, but solely with the object of getting rich. Their chief interest is commerce, and their chief aim in life is, as they call it, 'doing business.'"
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 1

  • "You must picture the consternation of our little town, hitherto so tranquil, and now, out of the blue, shaken to its core, like a quite healthy man who all of a sudden feels his temperature shoot up and the blood seething like wildfire in his veins."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 1

  • "8,000 rats had been collected, a wave of something like panic swept the town."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 1

  • "I can't say I really know him, but one's got to help a neighbor hasn't one?"
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 1

  • "Rats died in the street; men in their homes. And newspapers are concerned only with the street."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 1

  • "Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 1

  • "We tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 1

  • "They fancied themselves free, and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 1

  • "He knew quite well that it was plague and, needless to say, he also knew that, were this to be officially admitted, the authorities would be compelled to take very drastic steps. This was, of course, the explanation of his colleagues' reluctance to face the facts."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 1

  • "From now on it can be said that plague was the concern of all of us."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "Thus, for example, a feeling normally as individual as the ache of separation from those one loves suddenly became a feeling in which all shared alike and-together with fear-the greatest affliction of the long period of exile that lay ahead."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "Thus, too, they came to know the incorrigible sorrow of all prisoners and exiles, which is to live in company with a memory that serves no purpose."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "Hostile to the past, impatient of the present, and cheated of the future, we were much like those whom men's justice, or hatred, forces to live behind prison bars."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "The plague was posting sentries at the gates and turning away ships bound for Oran."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "The public lacked, in short, standards of comparison. It was only as time passed and the steady rise in the death-rate could not be ignored, that public opinion became alive to the truth."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "You can't understand. You're using the language of reason, not of the heart; you live in a world of abstractions."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "Many continued hoping that the epidemic would soon die out and they and their families be spared. Thus they felt under no obligation to make any change in their habits, as yet. Plague was an unwelcome visitant, bound to take its leave one day as unexpectedly as it had come."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "To some the sermon simply brought home the fact that they had been sentenced, for an unknown crime, to an indeterminate period of punishment. And while a good many people adapted themselves to confinement and carried on their humdrum lives as before, there were others who rebelled and whose one idea now was to break loose from the prison-house."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "I can understand this sort of fervor and find it not displeasing. At the beginning of a pestilence and when it ends, there's always a propensity for rhetoric. In the first case, habits have not yet been lost; in the second, they're returning. It is in the thick of a calamity that one gets hardened to the truth-in other words, to silence."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "Death means nothing to men like me. It's the event that proves them right."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "What's true of all the evils in the world is true of the plague as well. It helps men to rise above themselves. All the same, when you see the misery it brings, you'd need to be a madman, or a coward, or stone blind, to give in tamely to the plague."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "Paneloux is a man of learning, a scholar. He hasn't come in contact with death; that's why he can speak with such assurance of the truth-with a capital T. But every country priest who visits his parishioners and has heard a man gasping for breath on his deathbed thinks as I do. He'd try to relieve human suffering before trying to point out its goodness."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "Tarrou nodded. 'Yes. But your victories will never be lasting; that's all.' Rieux's face darkened. 'Yes, I know that. But it's no reason for giving up the struggle.'"
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

  • "There comes a time in history when the man who dares to say that two and two do make four is punished with death."
    -Albert Camus, The Plague, Part 2

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