First-time captain, but long-time sailor aboard the Essex, George Pollard, Jr. is unable to assert autocratic rulership when his crew needs it most after the sinking of the whaleship.
First mate of the Essex, Owen Chase, is after Pollard's job. He proves himself capable after the sinking of the ship when he saves the majority of his sailors on the whaleboat, surviving four months at sea.
Second mate, Matthew Joy, does not survive the adventure due to his undiagnosed sickness. He was married to a girl outside of the Society of Friends back on Nantucket, but this did not alienate him from his fellow Nantucketers aboard the Essex.
A boatsteerer who stayed back on Henderson Island.
A boatsteerer who was incapable of harpooning the whale, breaking into tears instead.
Nephew of George Pollard, Jr., who was asked to take care of him on this journey. He was shot and killed by his best friend, Charles Ramsdell, after suggesting that the men 'cast lots'.
Best friend and shooter of Owen Coffin after lots were unluckily cast aboard the whaleboats almost four months at sea.
Cabin boy, who was only 14 years old at the onset of the journey. He became a well-known lodger in Nantucket and his version of the tale was published over 100 years after Chase's and Pollard's.
A sailor who went insane before his death on the whaleboat. The men were extremely reluctant to use his body for food.
Henry De Witt / Richard Peterson / Barzillai Ray / Samuel Reed / Isaiah Sheppard / Charles Shorter / Lawson Thomas / Seth Weeks / Joseph West / William Wright
Although these men may have played larger roles in the events of the journey, their names are hardly mentioned in the narratives of Nickerson, Chase, and Pollard more than a handful of times. For example, Peterson was among the first to die, so his body became important to the other sailors after he ceased being a character.
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex Questions and Answers
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Study Guide for In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex study guide contains a biography of Nathaniel Philbrick, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.