Billy Budd

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The Surgeon Character Analysis

The doctor of the Indomitable, who checks Claggart after he is struck by Billy and declares him dead. He also talks with the purser after Billy's death, refusing to see Billy's remarkable stillness while being hanged as an indication of his will power, which does not fall under the realm of scientific explanation.
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The Surgeon Character Timeline in Billy Budd

The timeline below shows where the character The Surgeon appears in Billy Budd. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 20
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...to another room and wait there and then sent another sailor to bring the ship's surgeon to his cabin. The surgeon arrived and pronounced Claggart to be dead. (full context)
Natural Character and Appearance Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
...angel of God! Yet the angel must hang!" The captain gathered himself and told the surgeon what had happened. After moving Claggart's body to a compartment, he ordered the surgeon to... (full context)
Chapter 21
Natural Character and Appearance Theme Icon
Duty, Loyalty, and Camaraderie Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Storytelling, Rumor, and Truth Theme Icon
...wonders if Captain Vere made the right decision in calling for a trial immediately. The surgeon, for example, thought that it would be better to confine Billy Budd onboard and wait... (full context)
Chapter 22
Natural Character and Appearance Theme Icon
Duty, Loyalty, and Camaraderie Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
Individual vs. Society Theme Icon
Storytelling, Rumor, and Truth Theme Icon
...reader to decide if Captain Vere was suffering from some bout of madness (as the surgeon momentarily thought). The narrator emphasizes the horrible timing of the event (right after numerous mutinies... (full context)
Chapter 27
Natural Character and Appearance Theme Icon
Storytelling, Rumor, and Truth Theme Icon
A few days after Billy's death, the ship's purser and the surgeon discussed the event in the mess hall. The purser claims that the stillness of Billy's... (full context)
Natural Character and Appearance Theme Icon
Storytelling, Rumor, and Truth Theme Icon
The purser continues to debate the issue with the surgeon, emphasizing the extraordinariness of Billy's stillness. The surgeon refuses to see the event as phenomenal,... (full context)