58 pages 1 hour read

Patrick O'Brian

Master and Commander

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1969

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Character Analysis

Jack Aubrey

Jack Aubrey is one protagonist of Master and Commander. He is an officer in the British Navy in his twenties who receives command of a ship for the first time in Chapter 1. Aubrey is described as this:

[A] man of between twenty and thirty whose big form overflow[s] his seat […]. He [is] wearing his best uniform—the white lapelled blue coat, white waistcoat, breeches and stockings of a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, with the silver metal of the Nile in his buttonhole—[…] bright blue eyes, staring from what would have been a pink-and-white face if it had not been so deeply tanned (7).

This physical description emphasizes Aubrey’s large size, his status as a Navy officer, his past heroism in the Battle of the Nile against the French, and his tanned skin from spending so much time outside on the deck of a ship. Throughout the novel, his friend Maturin often remarks upon Aubrey’s large appetite. He weighs around 14 stone, nearly 200 pounds. Aubrey also has blond hair that he usually wears without a wig, earning him the name “Goldilocks” among some members of the crew.

Aubrey’s family is not wealthy, causing him to be eager to capture other ships for prize money.