William "Billy" Budd Of obscure origin and limited education, Billy is a good-hearted and simple peacemaker who is nicknamed "Baby," as well as "the Handsome Sailor." He serves dutifully as foretopman on the Bellipotent and rejects an offer to join a mutiny. Claggart hates Billy because of his innocence and beauty. John Claggart, Master-at-Arms The dark, demon-haunted weapons officer and ship's policeman in his mid-thirties who, out of jealousy and malice, causes Billy's execution. Claggart comes from a shady background and is possibly foreign by birth. He is not well known to the captain because he joined the crew when it last left home port to replace the former master-of-arms, who was disabled. Because of his inner corruption, Claggart brings about his own death and is buried at sea. Captain "Starry" Vere
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