John Claggart, the master-at-arms on the Bellipotent, is a difficult character to grasp, even for the narrator: "His portrait I essay, but shall never hit it." Claggart's essential nature eludes not only the narrator and Billy Budd but also the perceptive Captain Vere; in fact, the only character who seems to understand Claggart and his motives is the wise yet taciturn Dansker. Claggart in turn is "perhaps the only man in the ship intellectually capable of adequately appreciating the moral phenomenon presented in Billy Budd," and ironically, Billy's goodness...
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