Corporal Jean Macquart
Corporal Jean Macquart (zhahn mah-KAHR), a French peasant serving in the army during the Franco-Prussian War. He is a veteran of many battles who manages to survive honorably during the devastating fighting at Sedan. Captured by the Germans, he escapes with one of his men and bravely makes his way back to join the French Army of the North. In the civil war that breaks out against the Second Republic, he bayonets one of his friends fighting for the other side and is heartbroken.
Private Maurice Levasseur
Private Maurice Levasseur (moh-REES leh-vah-SEWR), a middle-class Frenchman who joins the French army to escape debts and is assigned to Corporal Macquart’s squad. Levasseur, who believes in the evolutionary necessity of war, at first despises the corporal but comes to admire Macquart for his bravery and common sense. In the fighting at Sedan, Levasseur saves the corporal’s life; later, the corporal helps him to escape the Germans after capture. In the civil war against the Second Republic, Levasseur is killed in night street fighting by his friend Macquart.
Honoré Fouchard (oh-noh-RAY few-SHAHR), a French artilleryman who is helped by Macquart and Levasseur in saving his father...
(The entire section is 467 words.)