This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Billy Budd, Sailor Essay

841 words - 4 pages

Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor is a critically acclaimed novella set around the shores of England in the last decade of the Eighteenth Century. The plot revolved around a young Sailor, Billy Budd, who was extracted from the ship he was originally on, The Rights of Man, and was oppressed to a British naval warship named the H.M.S. Billopotent. There were numerous allusions used throughout the novella that enhanced the meaning of this great work. The allusions used pertain towards myths, the Bible, History, and other works of literature. All of them together illuminate the true meaning of the entire novella.
Biblical Allusions were used vividly throughout this work. In fact, a significant reference was made between Billy Budd, the protagonist, and John Claggart, Billy’s Foil, throughout. Billy Budd was compared to Adam of the Garden of Eden and John Claggart to a serpent which would indicate Satan. From a reader’s perspective Herman Melville used this to evoke associations between the two characters and the Bible. Billy resembled Adam of the Garden of Eden because he was often described as a complete innocent. John Claggart, on the other hand, was referred to as someone who had a compliant exterior, but an evil and sinister interior. Moreover, there was another great reference that involved another important character, Captain the Honorable Edward Fairfax Vere, who was linked to God with Billy linked to Jesus. How? According to the Bible, God had to sacrifice his own son Jesus Christ to obtain obedience from his Kingdom. In Billy Budd, Sailor, Vere was perceived to possess strong feelings of care for Billy almost like a father would for a son. Vere had an internal conflict that had him choose between Billy to stay alive or dye because Billy had allegedly killed John Claggart with purpose. This situation adequately paralleled the allusion made between those two characters with God and Jesus. God had to sacrifice his child and Vere had to sacrifice Billy. Furthermore, the last biblical allusion made was about Billy, and it was a bit vague, but did provide evidence of a Biblical allusion. When Billy was executed for supposedly killing John Claggart, he did not have any physiological spasms at all. After that happened it was evident there was something different about Billy since that was not typical of a person’s actions when hanged. It was thought that Herman Melville did this to provide an indirect reference to the Cross which Jesus was executed upon. In this...

Find Another Essay On Billy Budd, Sailor Essay

Essay on the Dilemma of Billy Budd

683 words - 3 pages The Dilemma of Billy Budd   Herman Mellville's Billy Budd is and extremely divisive novel when one considers the dissension it has generated. The criticism has essentially focused around the argument of acceptance vs. resistance. On the one hand we can read the story as accepting the hanging of Billy Budd as the necessary ends of justice. We can read Vere's condemnation as a necessary military action performed in the name of preserving

Billy Budd Essay: Themes of Good and Evil

1910 words - 8 pages Themes of Good and Evil in Billy Budd   Many themes relating to the conflict between Good and Evil can be found in Herman Melville's novella Billy Budd.  Perhaps one of the most widely recognized themes in Billy Budd is the corruption of innocence by society (Gilmore 18).              Society in Billy Budd is represented by an eighteenth century English man-of-war, the H.M.S. Bellipotent.  Billy, who represents innocence, is a young

Compare and Contrast Billy Budd versus Bartleby

2073 words - 8 pages Billy Budd, and the `narrator' and Bartleby in Bartleby, at times are very much alike, and also very different. The conflict, climax and resolution of the two Melville stories contain similarities and differences. These two stories, on the exterior, appear to be very different, and on the interior are alike, especially if trying to analyze the stories by interpreting the symbolism that Melville may be trying to reveal in his writing. This essay

Irony in Billy Budd

604 words - 2 pages . "Melville's Fist: The Execution of Billy Budd. " Critical Essays on Melville's Billy Budd, Sailor. Boston, Mass. G.K. Hall & Co., 1989, pp. 185-198. 2) Schiffman, Joseph. "Melville's Final Stage, Irony: A Re-examination of Billy Budd Criticism." Critical Essays on Melville's Billy Budd, Sailor. Boston, Mass, G.K. Hall & Co., 1989, pp. 46-49.

Comparing Billy Budd and the Life of Melville

1508 words - 6 pages individuals of Melville's life. Important to the creation of Billy Budd were the war, current politics, slavery, and even the assassination of President Lincoln. This essay intends to identify the analogous relationship between these incidences and the particular individuals of Melville's life that inspired him to write Billy Budd. Melville seems to have lived a life that was inevitably centered around war and politics. His grandparents were

Billy Budd

1920 words - 8 pages Billy Budd Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor is evidently an extremely divisive text when one considers the amount of dissension and disagreement it has generated critically. The criticism has essentially focused around what could be called the dichotomy of acceptance vs. resistance. On the one hand we can read the story as accepting the slaughter of Billy Budd as the necessary ends of justice. We can read Vere’s condemnation as

Billy Budd (play)

639 words - 3 pages comprehend evil therefore makinghim good. People calling Billy "baby budd, and handsome sailor" justseem to contrast the good in him even more. Claggart was born evil andtherefore is evil. Claggart would naturally be out to destroy Billybecause he is what he is against. Just good vs. evil in a battle forcontrol. That is why Claggart is naturally out to bring the downfallof Billy Budd.It is very true that jealousy is another reason why John

The Tragedy of Justice in Billy Budd by Charles A. Reich

1279 words - 5 pages In all of Herman Melville’s short stories the captain is a tyrannical madman, but in Billy Budd, Sailor he changed things up and the captain, Captain Vere had compassion and a sensitive side to him, yet at the same time he had a military disciplinarian side to him. This is what made him such a controversial character. Captain Vere is all the talk, many critics have discussed the issue in their essay’s including Charles A. Reich’s “The Tragedy

Billy Budd and Ivan Illych

1136 words - 5 pages Melville’s Billy Budd,Sailor and Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Illych are both well-known short stories. Melville’s Billy Budd comes from the era of Romanticism, while The Death of Ivan Illych comes about later on in the Realism era. There are many similarities and differences between the two short stories. We know already that one big difference is that both of the stories come from different time periods. One great thing about both of the

billy budd

885 words - 4 pages , and Billy finds himself confronted with two curious sailors. Unsure of how to explain the situation, Billy explains that he simply happened upon a fellow sailor who was in the wrong part of the ship, and chased the man back to his proper station.      Later on, after a short battle with an enemy ship, Claggart approaches Captain Vere with news of mutiny and names Billy Budd as the ringleader. Vere calls Billy to his

Billy Budd

576 words - 2 pages In the story Billy Budd, written by Herman Melville, there is a pattern of symbolism the author is trying to convey. Melville notes the symbolism of "Innocence" in the character of Billy Budd, a bright-eyed, twenty-one year old sailor in the British Fleet. He notes the symbolism of "Justice" in the character Captain Vere, nicknamed "Starry Vere", a bachelor of about forty, and the captain of the ship Bellipotent. He also notes

Similar Essays

Billy Budd, Sailor, By Harrison Hayford And Merton M. Seaths

696 words - 3 pages Can a man kill another man; yet, be a passive hero? In Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Seaths short story, “Billy Budd, Sailor (An inside Narrative)”, Billy Budd is characterized as a passive hero. Unexpectedly, Billy Budd is singled out and forced into the King’s service. Even so, Billy Budd has a positive influence with nearly all of his ship mates and officers. However, Billy’s affect with the new master-at-arms proves Billy does not have

Billy Budd An Analysis Of The Handsome Sailor And The Cost Of Naviety

1475 words - 6 pages Billy BuddByHerman MelvilleHerman Melville's, Billy Budd, is set during the 1700's a turbulent time in European History. Rumors of war raging between England and France draw our "handsome sailor," Billy Budd into a web of deceit. Drafted into service for the throne of England, Billy finds himself fighting in a battle of emotions not weapons. A unique specimen, Billy tends to draw the crewmen to him because of his wholesome goodness - emitting

Billy Budd Essay

1313 words - 5 pages Often a person is torn between doing his duty, and doing what is right. This is a common problem to many people in everyday life, a problem that can have terrible results, such as death. Many authors have had to deal with making a tough choice, and so they try to capture the struggle between duty and heart in their books. A prime example of this is Billy Budd by Herman Melville. In this novel, Captain Vere was the man who found himself

Billy Budd Essay: Comparing Christ To Billy

3262 words - 13 pages Comparing Christ to Billy of Billy Budd         "I stand for the heart. To the dogs with the head!" wrote Herman Melville in his June 1851 letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne (Davis and Gilman 3). Yet, by the time he began writing Billy Budd, Sailor in 1888, Melville must have tempered this view, for Billy Budd depicts the inevitable destruction of a man who is all heart but who utterly lacks insight. Melville no doubt intends for his reader to