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On the Beach

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Characters

Dwight Towers

Characters Dwight Towers

Dwight is the hard-working, loyal, soft-spoken captain of the American nuclear submarine. He knows how to lead a crew and he does it well. He also realizes that his job carries obligations and that he must fulfill them, even in these trying and strange circumstances. Dwight does his work with a sense of who he is and what his role is in the world. His competence, responsibility, and integrity spill over into his personal life. These characteristics are especially apparent in his relationship with Moira. Dwight is honest with Moira about his loyalty to his wife, and he maintains that integrity until the very end.

Although Dwight is a practical, rational man, he clings to the belief—though perhaps aware of his delusion—that his family is still alive and well in America. Dwight simply does not have the imagination to be able to grasp that the American people, his family included, no longer exist. Dwight is also very obedient, and in some instances his obedience seems extreme. When asked how he would respond if he had been in the position to stop dropping the bombs during the nuclear war, Dwight admits that, although he would like to think he would have negotiated, he probably would have continued the bombing just as the world's real leaders did. Dwight also refuses to break the rules to allow Moira onto the submarine when he scuttles it. His inflexibility may maintain his integrity, but it also leaves Moira to die alone.