Dissertation >

Thinking of the wonderful work of the conscience of the times

Author DingChunLin
Tutor YangJiangPing
School Shandong Normal University
Course Comparative Literature and World Literature
Keywords Equilibrium Thought Plague Duality Themes
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
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As a poet philosopher,the whole life of Albert Camus was full of the Philosophical meaning of the binary opposition.His works’themes also have the duality of binary opposition: against and are,life and death,poverty and the sun,solitude and solidarity,fortune and misfortune.These themes are the embodiment of his EquilibriumThought,which emphasis on moderation,golden mean and equilibrium of action and inner spirit.And he had been looking for and improving this idea,which was always embodied in the creation of his works.In this paper,we will analysis the duality themes of his novel plague to study the embodiment of his Equilibrium Thought in the work.Equilibrium Thought of Camus is the product of the times. Firstly,in the end of last century,science and technology had greatly promoted the economic development of Western society and created enormous material wealth,which made people feel powerless,loneliness,anxiety,strangeness and absurdity.Secondly,the two world wars shocked people’s spiritual and material life.People’s sense of disillusionment and absurdity were more intense. Lastly, the Cold War,Stalinist "purges", French imperialist practices and the Arab nationalist violence result to the spread of nihilism and violence.Under such a social background,as a conscience of the times,Camus advocated returning to ancient Greece and put forward to his Equilibrium Thought which can balance the absurd world and fight against Marxist despotism and violence. Equilibrium Thought contains the affirmation of life and human nature,no suicide,killing and violence;it follows the principles of moderation,golden mean and equilibrium to against the absolute and unlimited imagination;it advocates love, beauty and creativity to rebel the hatred and destruction of the world;it pursues the freedom,justice and harmony to against tyranny,injustice and division in the world.It is clearly that Camus’s Equilibrium Thought inherit the ancient Greek spirit of freedom and restraint of the rational spirit,Aristotle’s Golden Mean Thought,and the ancient Greek dualistic thinking.Meanwhile,Camus also absorbed the existentialist philosopher critical thinking:experience the absurdity of Kierkegaard,Heidegger’s meaning of existence,the essence of survival Jaspers,Husserl’s rational limits,etc.On this basis,Camus distinguished the theistic and atheistic existentialism,refused to believe either of them,firmly believe in the acceptable truth - Equilibrium Thought. Camus’s Equilibrium Thought is reflected in the duality themes of the plague: the equilibrium of separation and aggregation,of death and life,of absurdity and reason,of revolt and the limits of equilibrium,of evil and justice.The plague breakouts in Oran city,separation is one of the most common status of the city.Camus describes the separation between loved ones,couples,as well as the sense of pain,loneliness and loss.Separation is universal while aggregation is special.But Camus didn’t overlook this rare polymerization,but to has a general social aggregation,and in a certain extent a balance between separation and aggregation.People in the city not only stand the pain of separation,but also withstand the threat of death.The plague bacillus ravages so that death becomes unexpected.Since death is inevitable and born is at the beginning to die,then we must pursue life as much as possible. Camus admired Nietzsche’s superman,who has a strong vitality,a strong will and superior intelligence,a high passion and strong creativity.Camus thought absurd is a kind of opposite relation between person and the world.The relation is contradictory,uneven,confrontation,and depraved.The situation of separation and death threats make people live in a world of absurdity and become prisoners of outsiders.However,the rationality of people desires for reunion happiness,eternal life so that absurdity conflicts with effective and limited rationality.What can we do?Camus thought we need to know "absurd" nature,find a kind of integration between reason and absurdity.Camus shaped Leo doctor and other courier to express his thought of facing absurdity straightly——resistance,that is to say,he insisted to become one who doesn’t escape from absurdity.Facing absurdity,we should affirm life at first,and enjoy the life bravely and full of passion as much as possible.In the spirit we go beyond the absurd, and obtain freedom on action.Rebel is not only individual,but also the crowd’s collective resistance.In the process of resistance,Camus had been insisting on a moderate,limited equilibrium thought against the absurd.In the same time,he emphasized more on the principle of proportionality and was against the concept of absolute to avoid resistance to nihilism,to the extreme.Resistance is to pursue justice,freedom,and a happy life.However,forces of evil and plague are always there,killing and violence are always there,and even flooding.Facing to the imbalance,Camus advocated love,respecting for life and good faith to achieve the ideal life. Camus described the conscience of the times.Combined with the times,outbreak of plague in Oran city is the symbol of occupied France during World War II. The symbol of plague is Nazi Germany’s aggression. Facing the situation of imbalance between peace and war,Camus hoped that Greek’s moderation,golden mean and equilibrium could bring light to Europe after the war,that people get lost could find specified path to make human dignity,human happy return to the world.Sudden disappear of plague bacillus, which is everywhere and at all times, and the death of Tharu, Leo doctor believes that the plague is life,and absurd still exists so that the rebels can only to death to opposite the absurd. All these show that Camus was into the scope of fatalism and agnostics when looking for the equilibrium.And his Equilibrium Thought is limited to the times, which emphasis more on the inner spirit of harmony and the common humanity of man’s own internal requirements.In practice it’s more difficult to practice.Sartre and others criticized his Equilibrium Thought,and isolated him because they thought that the Thought is only "the art of living."Equilibrium Thought was mild,compared to the prevailing theory of revolutionary violence that time,was difficult to adapt to external changes in the social environment and was difficult to bring about the immediate interests of the country, therefore,it was not accepted.Camus was attacked by most people of that time,and he was into the isolation,silence,confusion, and the creation of the novel fall.

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