Politics and Ethic of Care of the Self in Albert Camus’s The Plague


  • Mukesh Kumar Bairva




Care, Self, Truth, Compassion, Existence, Hermeneutic And Ethics


Albert Camus’ The Plague articulates a new aesthetic of existence that resists biopolitical normalization. It means cultivating one’s self and not attempting to discover an authentic and hidden self because it entails a continual process of becoming.  The sudden eruption of plague in Oran, signifies a rupture in history of its people as the “bored populace is consumed by commercial habits aimed at making money”. In The Plague, if some people become more self-centred and insensitive, characters such as Rieux, Rambert, Peneloux and Joseph Grand show concern for the suffering people and stand in solidarity with them. Their characterization as ordinary individuals who assume responsibility for others’ existence in times of disaster reflects Camus’ hermeneutic of care of the self as an ethical project.  Camus aptly asserts that “ordinary acts of courage and kindness are more helpful than the illusion of superheroes”. Deriving a cue from Foucault, Heidegger and Levinas, the paper attempts to explore how care of the self is intertwined with ethics and politics. It is argued that without spiritual discipline and caring for others, the ethical transformation of self cannot take place. It indicates fashioning of the self more freely and self-reflexively and thus speaking truth to power and sacrificing for others. The paper examines this poetics of self which shares an ethical relationship with truth, freedom and kindness.


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Author Biography

Mukesh Kumar Bairva

Assistant Professor

Department of English

Pannalal Girdharlal Dayanand Anglo Vedic

University of Delhi

New Delhi, India


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How to Cite

Bairva, M. K. . (2021). Politics and Ethic of Care of the Self in Albert Camus’s The Plague. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 9(5), 240–255. https://doi.org/10.24113/ijellh.v9i5.11064