| Quote #1
"I always say," the woman began, "if they clapped all that scum in jail, decent folks could breathe more freely."
Since we don’t know anything about this woman, we can assume she represents some sort of general or popular opinion: namely, that criminals need to be locked up.
| Quote #2
"Only I’ve been reading that detective story. It’s about a poor devil who’s arrested one fine morning, all of a sudden. People had been taking an interest in him and he knew nothing about it. They were talking about him in offices, entering his name on index cards. Now, do you think that’s fair? Do you think people have the right to treat a man like that?"
Two things are painfully clear from this passage: first, that Cottard is more interested in himself than protecting the rights of criminals everywhere (as Tarrou is), and Rieux, yet again, is unable to commit himself fully to an opinion one way or the other. Apparently, objectivity necessitates timidity.
| Quote #3
"I should tell you, however, that they’re thinking of using the prisoners in the jails for what we call the ‘heavy work.’"
We later find out about Tarrou’s reasons, but what’s more interesting is that he doesn’t seem to recognize the fact that all men, criminals or not, are condemned to death.