The Plague

Father Paneloux Character Analysis

A Jesuit priest and scholar of St. Augustine. When the plague arrives Paneloux preaches a sermon about how it is a punishment sent by God. After watching the death of an innocent child, Paneloux’s faith is shaken, and he delivers a second, more desperate sermon and then succumbs to an unknown illness.

Father Paneloux Quotes in The Plague

The The Plague quotes below are all either spoken by Father Paneloux or refer to Father Paneloux. 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 2 Quotes

“If today the plague is in your midst, that is because the hour has struck for taking thought. The just man need have no fear, but the evildoer has good cause to tremble. For plague is the flail of God and the world His threshing-floor, and implacably He will thresh out His harvest until the wheat is separated from the chaff.”

Related Characters: Father Paneloux (speaker)
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Plague quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Part 4 Quotes

“I understand,” Paneloux said in a low voice. “That sort of thing is revolting because it passes our human understanding. But perhaps we should love what we cannot understand.”
Rieux straightened up slowly…
“No, Father. I’ve a very different idea of love. And until my dying day I shall refuse to love a scheme of things in which children are put to torture.”

Related Characters: Dr. Bernard Rieux (speaker), Father Paneloux (speaker)
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Tarrou, when told by Rieux what Paneloux had said, remarked that he’d known a priest who had lost his faith during the war, as the result of seeing a young man’s face with both eyes destroyed.
“Paneloux is right,” Tarrou continued. “When an innocent youth can have his eyes destroyed, a Christian should either lose his faith or consent to having his eyes destroyed. Paneloux declines to lose his faith, and he will go through with it to end. That’s what he meant to say.”

Related Characters: Jean Tarrou (speaker), Dr. Bernard Rieux, Father Paneloux
Page Number: 229
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire The Plague LitChart as a printable PDF.
The plague.pdf.medium

Father Paneloux Character Timeline in The Plague

The timeline below shows where the character Father Paneloux appears in The Plague. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
...however, Dr. Rieux sees M. Michel looking very sickly and being escorted home by Father Paneloux, a Jesuit priest. Rieux briefly examines M. Michel and finds that he is feverish and... (full context)
Part 2
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
After a month of plague, Father Paneloux declares he will deliver a sermon on the subject. The town has grown more pious... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
Soon after Father Paneloux’s sermon summer descends on Oran with scorching heat and a sharp increase in the number... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
...considered the dangers of such work. Tarrou responds by asking what Rieux thought of Father Paneloux’s sermon. Rieux says he hates the idea of “collective punishment.” The plague can sometimes make... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
...then asks Dr. Rieux if he believes in God, and Rieux answers by saying that Paneloux is a man of learning, separated from real suffering and death, so he has the... (full context)
Part 4
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Exile and Imprisonment Theme Icon
...a quarantine camp, but he accepts the rule of the rest of the public. Father Paneloux (who has joined the sanitation league) joins the vigil and he, Rieux, Castel, Grand, and... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
...he finally expires “in a grotesque parody of crucifixion” as the men watch in horror. Paneloux cries out to God to save the child, but in vain. As he leaves the... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Outside the hospital Paneloux talks to Dr. Rieux, who apologizes for his outburst. Paneloux understands that Rieux’s anger is... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
After watching the child’s death, a change seems to come over Father Paneloux in the following days. He begins working on an essay about whether a priest should... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
In his sermon, Father Paneloux declares that the extreme and seemingly meaningless suffering of the plague only makes his first... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Father Paneloux references a story of a previous epidemic in which only four monks of a monastery... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
...Rieux and Tarrou discuss the sermon, and they overhear a priest and deacon talking about Paneloux’s new essay, which apparently states that it is illogical for a priest to call a... (full context)
Absurdism Theme Icon
Suffering and Death Theme Icon
Heroism and Defiance Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Soon afterward Father Paneloux grows sick, but he sticks to his principles and refuses to call a doctor. The... (full context)