Even though The Plague’s characters have varied backgrounds, most all realise that their differences should not stop them from coming together to defeat the disease.
Rieux is the narrator of The Plague. He has the same approach to narration as he does to battling the disease: be honest and tell the truth as he sees it. He does not seek glory, but rather is motivated by his sense of duty as a doctor.
Tarrou is an outsider to Oran. He creates sanitary squads, groups of people who voluntarily group together to fight the plague.
Grand is a civil servant. He has been writing a novel for decades, but can’t get past the first sentence. His quiet courage and ability to take direction well make him an invaluable fighter.
Rambert is a reporter from a Paris newspaper. When the city is put under quarantine, he tries to escape, but realises that he has an obligation to stay and fight.
Father Paneloux is a Jesuit priest. He tries to make sense of the plague through religion, and joins the sanitary squad’s fight.
Cottard has spent his life running from the law. When the plague hits, he becomes a man-about-town who engages in profiteering.
Castel is an old, weathered doctor. He is the first person to identify the disease as plague, and creates an effective serum to fight off the disease.
M. Othon is a magistrate, or judge. He respects rules and orders. Othon comes around to fighting the plague, at first by dropping quiet hints to others.
The prefect is Oran’s governor. He is reluctant to take drastic action in the early days, preferring to downplay the threat.
Dr. Richard is the chairman of Oran’s medical association. He cannot create mandatory medical orders, and his powers are limited to advising the Prefect.
Mme. Rieux is Dr. Rieux’s mother. She is a strong matriarch who demonstrates quiet courage in the face of danger.