In The Plague, by Albert Camus, is the story hopeful or despairing about the human condition? Why?

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Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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While the novel is not entirely hopeful about people's reactions to adversity, it concludes on a hopeful note. As the death toll from the plague begins to slow, people feel cautious hope. Though Camus refers to this hope as a "negative solace," as people only have the comfort of knowing that they are less likely to die from the plague, this solace nonetheless makes them appreciate the everyday. At the end of the plague, they are filled with hope, and Camus describes them as "setting forth at last, like a shipload of survivors, towards a land of promise."

In the end, Cottard feels optimistic about the future and says that everyone has to start over again. Though he always lived in fear before the plague, he now feels that it is a clean start. Cottard is a malevolent character who profited from the plague, but he is seemingly offered redemption and a new beginning when the plague ends. The author implies that even though different people approached the plague in different ways—some...

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