The Plague

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Raymond Rambert Character Analysis

A journalist from Paris who is trapped in Oran by the quarantine. Rambert desperately tries to escape the city and rejoin his wife in Paris, using both official and illegal means. He suffers many delays, and by the time he succeeds in securing an escape plan he decides to stay and help with the anti-plague effort.

Raymond Rambert Quotes in The Plague

The The Plague quotes below are all either spoken by Raymond Rambert or refer to Raymond Rambert. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Absurdism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of The Plague published in 1991.
Part 5 Quotes

And with his arms locked around her… he let his tears flow freely, unknowing if they rose from present joy or from sorrow too long repressed; aware only that they would prevent his making sure if the face buried in the hollow of his shoulder was the face of which he had dreamed so often or, instead, a stranger’s face. For the moment he wished to behave like all those others around him who believed, or made believe, that plague can come and go without changing anything in men’s hearts.

Related Characters: Raymond Rambert
Page Number: 295
Explanation and Analysis:

Tarrou has died of the plague just as the epidemic is retreating. Rieux is so upset--upset that his brave friend is dead, and that he himself has been unable to do anything about it--that he cries bitterly. Rieux has spent almost the entire novel behavior stoically and collectedly--he's always argued that his detachment is a sign that he's still invested in actually healing people, rather than just feeling sorry for them.

Are Rieux's tears a sign that he's finally given up--that he's finally accepted defeat in the face of an unbeatable disease? Perhaps, but notice that even here, Rieux recognizes that it's important to respond to the plague in some way--he wishes that he could pretend, as many people do, that the plague can "come and go" without changing someone in an irrevocable way. At all times, Rieux wants to use his training to fight off the plague, even if only by telling made-up stories about it. Perhaps Rieux's tears are inevitable--no human being can repress his emotions forever; to do so would be a sign of inhumanity, or of not truly facing the suffering and death inherent in life.

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Raymond Rambert Character Timeline in The Plague

The timeline below shows where the character Raymond Rambert appears in The Plague. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
That afternoon, a young journalist named Raymond Rambert calls on Dr. Rieux. Rambert wants to discuss his latest report on the sanitary conditions... (full context)
Part 2
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
The narrator compares those exiled in their own town to those physically exiled like Rambert, who have only memories of their homes. Parted lovers grow remorseful of their past mistakes... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
One evening the journalist Rambert reintroduces himself to Dr. Rieux. He says he is determined to escape Oran to rejoin... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
Dr. Rieux acknowledges that Rambert is in an absurd situation, but there is nothing he can do. Rambert grows upset... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
Rambert also continues his attempts to escape, but keeps being held up by red tape. He... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
Meanwhile Rambert grows frustrated with the government and starts looking for illegal means of escaping Oran. Cottard... (full context)
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
Garcia walks with Rambert and Cottard and then puts Rambert in touch with a man named Raoul, who he... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
Rambert meets with Raoul, who puts him in touch with more members of the criminal underworld.... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
Rambert has more delays in his escape plan, but he finally meets Marcel and Louis, who... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
The next day Rambert’s escape plan is delayed again, as he cannot find Gonzales, Marcel, or Louis. He decides... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
Rambert gets Cottard to help him again, and they make contact with Garcia, who suggests that... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Rambert muses to Dr. Rieux and Tarrou that he stopped believing in heroism during the Spanish... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
...attempt at heroism, but simply “common decency.” Then he goes out, and Tarrou reveals to Rambert that Rieux’s wife is away at a sanatorium. This surprises Rambert, and he offers to... (full context)
Part 4
Absurdism Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
Rambert meets with Marcel and Louis again, and he moves in with them and their mother,... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
Tarrou records his visit to a quarantine camp with Rambert and Gonzales, Rambert’s football-loving friend. The camp is a requisitioned football stadium, and the people... (full context)
Part 5
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
...in February, and packed trains enter the city, where many separated loved ones are reunited. Rambert’s wife is among them, and Rambert realizes how much he has changed because of the... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
...from something he could not define, which was perhaps peace. He thinks about those like Rambert, whose hope lies in human love, and how these people are the only ones who... (full context)