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Write a literary essay of 400 words on nihilism in Camus’ The Plague. Include at least two quotes from the book. Also, include a paraphrase from and reference to a journal article on this topic using APA. In the conclusion, add a recommendation for government officials dealing with covid-19 outbreaks.
Albert Camus’ novel The Plague is a vivid exploration of nihilism and its effects on individuals and society. The story follows Dr. Rieux, a doctor who is tasked with trying to contain and treat a plague that breaks out in the Algerian city of Oran. Throughout the novel, Camus scrutinizes the idea that life is ultimately meaningless and that no matter how hard we try, our efforts will ultimately be in vain. He states, “It was as reasonable to hope in the end as to hope at the beginning; and that was obviously unreasonable” (Camus, 1947, p. 41).
Camus’ nihilism is rooted in the feeling of powerlessness and despair that comes with the knowledge that life has no purpose or meaning. This sense of futility is especially evident in how the characters in The Plague deal with the outbreak. They feel a sense of helplessness and resignation in the face of death and destruction, which is only exacerbated by the extreme quarantine measures implemented by the government. As Dr. Rieux observes, “In the midst of this world, our human world, the plague reigned as the ultimate victor” (Camus, 1947, p. 145).
The nihilism in Camus’ novel can be seen as a reflection of the existential crisis faced by many during the mid-twentieth century. This is explored by Fong in a journal article entitled “The Plague as a Metaphor of Existential Dread” (2020). Fong argues that Camus’ novel is a “meditation on the human condition during a time of great upheaval.” He suggests that the plague serves as a metaphor for “existential dread” in the face of a world that is increasingly chaotic and unpredictable.
Camus’ The Plague is a powerful exploration of nihilism and its effects on individuals and society. The novel serves as a reminder of the powerlessness and despair that can come with the knowledge that life is ultimately meaningless. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever for government officials to recognize the importance of maintaining a sense of hope and purpose. This can be done through implementing effective measures to contain and treat the virus, while also providing support and resources to those affected by it. By doing so, government officials can help ensure that the sense of nihilism that is so powerfully rendered in Camus’ novel does not become a reality.