Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Lieutenant Commander Philip Francis Queeg
Lieutenant Commander Philip Francis Queeg, the captain of the USS Caine. A neurotic officer of mediocre ability, he is not typical of his fellow Naval Academy graduates. He comes to the Caine from a somewhat murky background and seems determined, at least initially, to correct whatever happened in the past to make him a below-average officer. Within a few weeks, however, he shows himself to be an incompetent martinet incapable of seeing the big picture. As a result, he evokes in his officers and men reactions ranging from pity to rage and, finally, sincere concern for the safety of the ship. This concern leads to him being relieved during a typhoon and to subsequent disgrace.
Lieutenant Stephen Maryk
Lieutenant Stephen Maryk, an executive officer of the USS Caine during the mutiny. A naval reservist, he is an officer of excellent potential, typical of the young men brought into service early in World War II. Solid and dependable, Maryk is torn between the requirement of loyalty to a skipper, even one who seems mentally ill, and what he perceives is best for the ship. When his sea sense tells him that theCaine is doomed during a terrible storm, he relieves Captain Queeg of command and saves the ship. Indicted for mutiny, he is acquitted in a dramatic trial but, as is sometimes the way in the service, his career is ruined.
(The entire section is 557 words.)
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