The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty centers on the dilemma of young Frederic who, as a child, was mistakenly apprenticed to the pirates until his twenty first birthday. Helping Frederic to deal with this unusual predicament are the brash Pirate King, Ruth - the pirate maid-of-all-work, romantic Mabel, and the delightfully stuffy Major-General Stanley. On the rocky coast of Cornwall, England a band of tenderhearted pirates celebrates the coming of age of their apprentice, Frederic. Although Frederic's apprenticing to pirates was the mistake of his nurse maid Ruth, he has dutifully served, but he now announces his plan to devote his life to the extermination of piracy. The naive young man meets a group of beautiful girls, their father, the delightfully dotty Major-General, and enlists the help of some bumbling and diffident policemen. But Ruth and the Pirate King tell Frederic that his apprentice papers state that he won't be of age until his 21st birthday, which won't occur until the distant date of 1940 because Frederic was born in leap year on the 29th of February. Frederic is doomed to remain the pirate apprentice. The policemen try to capture the pirates on their own, but are easily defeated. Everyone is happy to discover that the pirates are really all "noblemen who have gone wrong," so all is forgiven in the end.