The Surgeon's Mate Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is the situation with Aubrey, Maturin and Villiers at the opening of THE SURGEON'S MATE?

Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin, and Diana Villiers are all passengers aboard HMS Shannon. The threesome has recently escaped from Boston and is being pursued by Harry Johnson, Villiers' one-time lover and an eager American intelligence officer possessed of extensive personal wealth.

2. What battle did Aubrey recently participate in and what was the outcome?

Aubrey participated as a combatant in Shannon's recent victory over USS Chesapeake, and the captured American heavy frigate accompanies Shannon on her voyage into Halifax, Nova Scotia.

3. Describe Jack Aubrey.

Captain Jack Aubrey is one of two principle protagonists of the novel and shares the spotlight with his particular friend and confidant Stephen Maturin. Aubrey is a larger-than-life character with charisma and dash. He is an unchallenged master in his element of the sea; a legendary captain, a masterful navigator, and a superb tactician. Although he is intelligent, he relies more on experience, insight, and a nearly infallible instinct to carry him through the various perils he encounters. Aubrey wears his blonde hair in a long queue and dresses as a traditional ship's captain. Aubrey is very athletic, possessed of an almost super-human vigor, great strength, and an incredible constitution. He is also particularly fond of food and drink, and Maturin often cautions him against becoming overly corpulent; his weight fluctuates wildly. Aubrey is handsome and fairly youthful, though his good-looks are marred by a variety of scars and combat-related wounds, including an ear sliced apart in an old encounter and various scars on his head. Aubrey is usually quite useless on land--for example, he has signed over his fortune to a scheming enterpriser--but on military occasions he proves useful enough.

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