Tarrou and Rieux fight alongside each other to save the greatest number of lives. Rambert, instead, just wants to find a way to escape. He gets in touch with Cottard, for whom the plague has been a blessing: he has become a smuggler and is making lots of money. Cottard promises to help Rambert be smuggled out of town, but his connections cannot deliver. Rieux and Tarrou are aware of Rambert's endeavours and don't blame him. Tarrou, though, is like a missionary: after enrolling the priest, he tries with Cottard, guessing that Cottard must have a dirty past. Cottard admits that he could end up in jail for something he did, and that he tried to commit suicide to avoid jail. He then accepts to help Tarrou's army of volunteers. Next is Rambert himself. Rambert is sure that he is not being a coward: he fought in the Spanish civil war. However, he has had enough of heroes. Heroism without emotion does not strike him as valuable. He believes in love, and is witnessing a world that is rapidly losing any interest in love. Rieux replies that what he is doing is not heroism but simply human decency. Rambert accepts to help them until he finds a way to escape.
The plague gets worse. Individual destiny has now become collective destiny. Rieux and the volunteers are getting exhausted. When he finally found a smuggler ready to take him out of the town, Rambert surprises everybody by asking to stay. He doesn't feel like a stranger anymore and wants to keep helping the town. He has become one of them, working for a futile but collective goal. Castel works on a vaccine but the vaccine fails when tried on the very son of the chief magistrate. The priest dies. Meanwhile Rieux receives news that his wife's conditions have worsened. The magistrate, devastated by the death of his son, decides to join the volunteers.
Tarrour explains to Reiux his motive. As a child, he had witnessed a trial in which his father, a public prosecutor, had asked for the death penalty. Since then he had devoted his life to fighting the death penalty. However, he had come to realize that everybody, even he himself, is responsible for the killings.
Grand falls sick and Rieux despairs of saving him. Grand asks Rieux to destroy his book. Rieuz realizes that the book is simply one sentence repeated over and over again with small variations. However, Grand "resurrects" and promises to rewrite the book. Rats reapper in the streets. The number of deaths decreases dramatically. The only person who doesn't seem happy is Cottard. Now that the emergency is almost over the police are after him again.
Tarrou dies just when the plague is fading away. Rieux receives a telegram that his wife died. The gates open: end of the isolation and the exile. Cottard is arrested after a shootout. Rieux reveals to the reader that he is the anonymous chronicler who has been writing the book: he wanted to remain objective. He comments that the town enjoyed the end of the plague but it was a precarious joy. They had survived this one, and this way they were prepared for the next one.
L'Etranger/ The Stranger (1942)
Meursault va al funerale della madre, morta sola in un ospizio; in piscina intreccia una relazione con Maria; il bruto Raimondo picchia la sua donna finché, un giorno, questa chiama la polizia; il vecchio Salamano è inconsolabile per la perdita del suo cane. Raimondo invita Meursault e Maria ad andare a trovare il suo amico Masson; due arabi, parenti dell'ex amante, lo seguono per vendicarsi, Raimondo e Masson l'aiutano a liberarsene; quando sulla spiaggia Meursault se ne trova di fronte uno armato di coltello, fa fuoco e l'uccide. Sembra indifferente a tutto ciò che gli accade, inerte, apatico; al processo non si difende, ascolta incuriosito testimoni, avvocati e giudice, che scavano nella sua vita privata. Viene condannato alla ghigliottina, ed ora aspetta l'alba dell'esecuzione, felice d'aver trovato qualcosa che l'interessa.
Translated by Jason Pierce)|
Meursault goes to the funeral of his mother, who died alone in a nursing home; in the pool a relationship begins with a woman named Maria, the brute Raimondo beats and abuses his lady friend until, one day, she calls the police; the old Salamono is inconsolable as a result of the death of his dog. Raimondo invites Meursault and Maria to go visit his friend Masson; two Arabs, relatives of Meursault's ex-lover, follow him in order to take revenge on him, Raimondo and Masson help Meursault to break free; when Meursault finds himself on the beach in front of a knife-wielding man, he shoots and kills him. Meursault seems indifferent to all that happens to him, indolent, apathetic; at the trial he doesn't defend himself, he listen curiously to the witness's, the lawyers, and the judge, that dig into his private life. Ultimately, he is sentenced to death-by-guillotin! e, and he now waits for the dawn of his execution, happy to have found something that finally interests him.