What is Rieux's place in the story The Plague? What is he supposed to portray?

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Rieux is the narrator of the story, although he does not reveal this to the reader until the end.  He disguises his role, speaking of himself in the third person throughout the bulk of the narrative, which appears to be told by an unnamed narrator who is relating what he has learned from others.  The reason Rieux takes this detached approach is...

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