Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
LIST OF CHARACTERS
William "Billy" Budd - Billy Budd is the absolute epitome of the "Handsome Sailor," a man so well built, attractive, and appealing that he stands out physically as well as psychically. In appearance, he is tan, blonde, tall, and exceedingly robust. At age twenty-one, he is also a complete innocent. He is always cheerful, very simple, and is known as a peacemaker on the merchant ship The Rights of Man. Since he has no guile, Billy finds it very difficult to understand any sort of human game playing. He is almost child- like in his straightforward heartiness. Billy has no sure past, for he was found as a baby in Bristol and has no idea of his parentage.
John Claggart - Claggart is the master-at-arms for the Indomitable and a bit of a mystery as a character. He is dark, pallid, and not strong in appearance. Like Billy Budd, he has no past, at least not one that is revealed in the story. He has apparently taken to the King's service later in life, for he is thirty-five and hasn't been in the service long. He has risen quickly in the ranks due to his ability to please his superiors. It is conjectured, due to a certain vocal accent, that he is not really British. He is vicious in his dislike of Billy.
Captain Vere - The commander of the Indomitable, Captain Vere, is from a wealthy British family and is a career British naval officer. He is different from the other sailors and officers, for he has book learning, is extremely reserved, and lacks jocularity. He is considered extremely competent and fair, just a little odd. He has never married, is in his forties, and likes to study history. It is suggested that he often times is so preoccupied with private thoughts that he is literally "somewhere else." In the execution of his duties, however, he is without fault.
Dansker - Dansker is an old salt, a forecastle man who is older, has seen a lot of service, and somewhat befriends Billy. Though he is able to understand shipboard dynamics, he is not willing to explain them in detail to Billy because he is not a talker. He is cautious because he knows the consequences of talking too much.
The ship's surgeon - The surgeon is an even-tempered and disciplined naval surgeon. He is the first man to enter Captain Vere's cabin after the death of John Claggart. He is aware enough of the recent troubles and naval protocol to wonder if Captain Vere is a little "off" in his reaction to John Claggart's death.