Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Sir Joseph Porter

Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty, the pompous ruler of the Queen’s Navy. He has reached his exalted station by sticking to his desk and never going to sea. Wherever he goes, he is accompanied by a host of admiring female relatives. A great egalitarian, he believes a British tar (sailor) the equal of every man except himself. He intends to condescend to marry Josephine and makes an official pronouncement that love levels all ranks, but in practice he finds some limitations in this dogma.

Captain Corcoran

Captain Corcoran, the well-bred captain of H.M.S. Pinafore. He is hardly ever sick at sea and seldom uses profanity; when his daughter is discovered eloping with a common seaman, he allows a “damme” to slip, greatly shocking Sir Joseph. When he loses his exalted station, he takes his former nurse, Little Buttercup, to be his wife and promises that he will hardly ever be untrue to her.

Mrs. Cripps

Mrs. Cripps (Little Buttercup), a Portsmouth Bumboat Woman. She confesses that many years ago when she practiced baby-farming, she mixed up Captain Corcoran and Ralph Rackstraw in their cradles, causing a great social upheaval in later years. Her plump and pleasing presence captivates the captain, who proposes to her when he loses his social standing.

Ralph Rackstraw

Ralph Rackstraw, the smartest lad in all the fleet....

(The entire section is 498 words.)