RAIFE RACKSTRAW – a fine Able Seaman

James Turnbull

.Raife (“Ralf!” “No, it’s Raife!”) Rackstraw is a gallant and handsome sailor on the H.M.S. Pinafore and the protagonist of the show. Loyal, good-hearted, dutiful, and devoted, he struggles with his balance but still still steadfastly mans his position in the upper rigging of the ship. He loves poetry and is unusually refined for a sailor. He is also madly in love with the Captain’s daughter Josephine, who loves him in return, and the two plan to elope to escape Josephine’s engagement to Sir Joseph. Ultimately, they don’t need to, as it is revealed that Raife and Captain Corcoran were switched as young children and it is Raife who is the rightful aristocratic captain of the ship. Raife is a somewhat stereotypical heroic, romantic tenor role BUT in order for a modern audience to understand “the problem”, he should be very different from her – either by his roughness or a from a different culture.

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