We know his play is based on the events of WWII and the German occupation of France during the time of the World War. But how much do we really know about Camus?
Due to tuberculosis, Camus had to quit playing football in university, but was still successful at attaining a degree in Philosophy. Camus was highly involved with politics, having been a member of the Communist party and the Algerian People’s party during his student years. Later, alike his colleague Jean-Paul Sartre (fellow philosopher) Camus published a political commentary regarding the World War 2. Camus directed Combat, the French Resistance journal against WWII and resigned from it once it became commercial.
In 1949, when Camus experienced a relapse with his illness, tuberculosis, he lived in seclusion for 2 years, writing The Rebel, expressing his rejection of communism; but why? Wasn’t he a part of the Communist party? Camus had later been expelled from the Communist party due to his affiliation with the Algerian People’s Party and moved on to be part of the anarchist movement.
What does this suggest about Camus’ philosophy, and more specifically, his political philosophy? Many of Camus’ ideas are in line with existentialist thought, but there are significant differences in his personal philosophy such as a “benign indifference” as discussed in his work, The Stranger.
What is clear is that Camus seems to be an odd egg; he acts against the existing regime, as shown with his opposition against the German opposition, but what’s more interesting is that even amongst his fellow rebels, Camus doesn’t seem to belong. Perhaps this is why scholars often refer to him as an “absurdist.” Perhaps this reflects the level of complexity and unorthodox disposition with which we are to interpret The Plague.
Watch this quirky video analyzing Camus’ philosophy with evidence form Camus’ work previous to The Plague,The Stranger.