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In The Secret Sharer, the characters of Leggatt and the captain are related in terms of a shared psychic connection, if the reader chooses to believe the captain. The captain desperately wants to believe that Leggatt is innocent of deliberately killing the sailor on the Sephora. The difficulties he has had in keeping his own men in line make the captain empathize with a man who killed an insubordinate—a lower-ranking man.
The captain's loneliness and insecurity prompt him to take Leggatt at face value rather than consider him as a cold-blooded murderer. The captain identifies within Leggatt some of the tendencies that being an officer had made him notice in himself. Because he feels so isolated, he wishes for someone to share his secrets with. The men, he notes, do not have to excel the way an officer does:
They had simply to be equal to their tasks; but I...
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