The Plague Characters
Meet the Cast
Dr. Bernard Rieux
Dr. Bernard Rieux is Mr. Responsible. He goes out day after day in the midst of a deadly infection to save lives while risking his own in a dashing display of heroism and – oh, wait. ThatR...
So Tarrou’s big deal issue is that he’s against the death penalty. Like, really against the death penalty. Thanks to Freud we can look to his childhood for an explanation, and thanks to...
Grand is lovable and yet incompetent at the same time. He’s well-intentioned, but essentially powerless. He’s principled, but can’t express himself in words. And he’s certai...
Raymond has a significant change of heart in the midst of the outbreak; he goes from a self-proclaimed "stranger" in town trying to escape to a man who admits that the plague is "everyone’s p...
To understand Cottard, but we’ve got to delve a little bit into some old philosophy here, namely that of Søren Kierkegaard, self-proclaimed non-existentialist and also the "father of exi...
Father Paneloux is the one character to represent organized religion in The Plague, yet he himself seems to struggle with organized religion. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Let...
The Asthmatic Spaniard
Rieux’s asthmatic patient is arguably the most fascinating, intriguing, and difficult character in The Plague. He chooses to be bed-ridden. He doesn’t believe in clocks, but he transfer...
M. (Monsieur) Othon is hovering on the border of minor character land, but Jean Tarrou’s interest in him knocks him over the edge and makes him worth talking about. As we know, Tarrou has it...
Dr. Richard is clearly trying to be the voice of reason when the plague outbreak begins. While Rieux is quick to recommend preventative action like quarantine and serum, Richard is all, "Wait just...
Let’s be frank; Castel doesn’t do much else in this novel besides talk about serum, lament the absence of serum, design a serum, and try it out on people. He’s Mr. Anti-Plague Ser...
Mme. (Madame) Rieux is Dr. Rieux’s mother. A kind and gentle woman, she shares a strange connection with Tarrou, most likely because she reminds him of his own mother. The woman declares that...
Dr. Rieux’s Wife
An invalid, Rieux’s wife is sent away to get better health care at the beginning of the novel. As a result, the doctor is separated from his wife throughout the novel, destroying his ability...
M. (Monsieur) Michel is the concierge at Rieux’s surgery building. At first he believes the rats to be a practical joke, which is some rather intense wishful thinking. His death – and t...
Jacques is the son of M. Othon. His death is a HUGE DEAL in The Plague, as we discuss in more depth in "Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory."
Mme. (Madame) Othon is Jacques’s mother and M. Othon’s wife. Tarrou comments that if she is under suspicion of having the plague, so is everyone else in town. This is a reminder that, i...
Mercier is Dr. Rieux’s acquaintance at the Municipal Office. The doctor calls him with the suggestion that they do something about this rat business, sooner rather than later.
The Prefect is an indecisive man of, well, inaction. Dr. Rieux practically has to beat this guy over the head to get him to do anything about the plague, never mind admitting to the populace that a...
The Cat-Spitting Man
See "Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory" for some discussion on this very odd man and Tarrou's interest in him.
This is the police guy who has to look into Cottard’s suicide. Frustrated by the man’s lack of cooperation, he essentially tells him he’s being a pain in the butt which, by the wa...
The Tobacconist Clerk
The tobacconist clerk is a woman who angers Cottard with her suggestion that a murderer ought to be thrown in jail. This is the famous implicit-reference-to-The Stranger scene.
Dr. Castel’s Wife
While she and Dr. Castel weren’t exactly passionately in love before the plague, when the town gates close separating the old married couple, they decide that they can’t be without each...
Jeanne is Grand’s wife; she left him before the outbreak of the plague.
Raymond Rambert’s "Wife"
This is the woman in Paris on whose behalf Raymond tries so many times to escape. While they aren’t exactly married, they are as close as you can get.
Mme. (Madame) Loret is the mother of the plague-stricken chambermaid at Tarrou’s hotel. Rieux’s interaction with her demonstrates how truly he weary he is of doing his job.
The Hotel Manager
The manager of Tarrou’s fancy-shmancy hotel. He is so class-obsessed we decided to write about him in "Symbols, Imagery, and Allegory." So check it out.
Raoul is one of Cottard's shady connections who tries to help Rambert escape from Oran.
Garcia is one of Cottard's shady connections who tries to help Rambert escape from Oran.
Gonzales is one of Cottard's shady connections who tries to help Rambert escape from Oran.
Marcel and Louis
Marcel and Louis are young brothers and the guards of the Oran town gates who can make Rambert’s escape happen.
Marcel and Louis’s Mother
Rambert meets Marcel and Louis's mother when he’s staying at their house and waiting for the night of his escape. Like Dr. Rieux’s mother, she doesn’t seem to fear the plague at a...
The Elderly Priest
He seems to represent the general opinion of the Church with regards to Father Paneloux. He thinks it is inappropriate for a priest to consult a doctor.
The Younger Deacon
The man whom Dr. Rieux overhears speaking with the elderly priest about Father Paneloux's second sermon.
The Elderly Woman
The woman with whom Father Paneloux moves in once his own residence has been converted to quarantine space. They don’t get along for somewhat trivial reasons, which we’re sure she feels...