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This is a very interesting observation! You bring up a good point -- Leggatt definitely impacted the captain's ability to lead. But it's hard to tell if he ultimately helped or hurt.

Personally, I can't hold it against the captain. He had unfulfilled emotional needs. After meeting Leggatt, he felt a taste of friendship, a genuine connection. If he had kicked Leggatt off the ship, his lonliness would return, plus a little extra. And he would still be preoccupied with Leggatt, thinking about their encounter and wondering if he's okay.

I totally agree with all of your thoughts on this. It seems that he had to BREAK the law to BE the law.
And his loneliness as a motive does help the reader to sympathize with his choices.

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