Chapters 6-8 Summary
Last Updated on February 21, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 357
If someone were to casually observe the crew and the goings-on aboard the Indomitable, they wouldn't see much proof of the discontent and mutinies that were discussed in earlier chapters. The officers who hold official positions are treating the crew fairly, and they're taking their lead from their superior, Captain Edward Fairfax Vere.
Captain Vere is both a distinguished sailor and a nobleman, who takes his leadership responsibilities seriously and is a fair but firm enforcer of discipline. Unlike most of his crew who are not well-educated, Captain Vere is a passionate and avid reader, with a broad range of interests and knowledge in various subjects.
Sometimes Captain Vere has shown a tendency towards being lost in thought or absent-mindedness. A close relative, who borrowed the phrase from a poem, has affectionately nicknamed him "Starry Vere."
Vere has a diverse range of abilities and hobbies beyond his role as a naval commander. He is a resolute individual who isn't easily influenced by public sentiment. While his crew and colleagues hold him in high regard, he isn't very sociable and is perceived as unemotional and intellectual.
John Claggart holds the position of "chief of police" on the ship Indomitable as the master-at-arms. He is 35 years old, and has a tall and thin build, along with a pale complexion that suggests a possible physical abnormality or health issue. Despite his appearance, he is believed to be well-educated, though his background prior to the ship is unknown. While it is possible that he is English, his speech indicates that he may have a foreign accent.
The crew has heard a rumor that John Claggart, who is currently serving at sea, was previously involved in a fraudulent activity, and that this is the reason for his current employment in the navy. It was common for the British navy to accept men who were trying to escape a scandal or some other trouble in their civilian lives during that period.
When Claggart joined the navy, he was placed in the least respected part of the ship's crew as a beginner. However, he rapidly rose through the ranks and eventually became the master-at-arms.