Upon hearing of this unexpected blot on his character, Billy is rendered speechless. His commitment to his values leads to the death of Billy Budd. Clever as we are, we realize that the story that we have been told is really just one more version of what happened. As for the spar from which Billy was hanged, the sailors keep track of its location. The final image of the book is the song's haunting final line.
While Vere does not believe Claggart, he is forced to call Billy in to face his accuser. Surgeon The surgeon verifies Claggart's death. The gossip is hyped even more by the fact that the rumor is that the English fleet is so pressed for men that they've even been pulling men out of prisons and making sailors of them. . Billy becomes furious and begins to stutter as he tells the afterguard to get away from him.
However, his charismatic naivete seems to bother Claggert, whose perverse depravity makes him resent Billy's good-natured purity, especially after the teenager's promotion to fore-top Captain. Claggart is also thought of as the Biblical. He then intervenes in the deliberations of the court-martial panel to argue them into convicting Billy, despite their and his belief in Billy's innocence before God. Though they know nothing of the secret facts of Billy's case, they all instinctively know that he was innocent. Vere and all the other officers on board are fully aware of Budd's simplicity and Claggart's evil, but the captain is also torn between his morality and duty to his station. Billy was then asked why Claggart maliciously lied against him.
The one problem, though, is that he keeps getting in trouble for stupid little things like not putting away his hammock properly. The narrator describes Billy Budd, a handsome, good-natured young sailor who is taken from his merchant ship, the Rights-of-Man, into service on a British Royal Navy warship, the Indomitable in some editions, the Bellipotent. Weisberg's close reading of the book has confirmed the central role of Billy Budd, Sailor in the emerging field of. The action of the novel occurs primarily between Billy and Captain Vere, both of whom are symbolic characters. Billy is stunned by the accusation and when pressured to talk, he punches Claggart in the forehead. Striking and killing a superior officer is an offense.
We feel his struggle as he attempts to reconcile his idea of himself as a good man with his role as the Captain of a ship. Vere represents the good man with no courage or faith in his own goodness, and is therefore susceptible to evil. Before he dies, he seems as beautiful as a vision; none of the sailors can look away from him. The of the story is significant, for the British navy, had just suffered through two major mutinies, which were not violent, but still threatening to the chain of command. When Claggart makes his false charges that Budd is a conspirator, Budd stammers, unable to find the words to respond, and he strikes Claggart, who falls backward - against a block and tackle; Budd's unlawful act killed him with a single blow. Vere summons Billy to his cabin and instructs Claggart to repeat his accusation.
It is ironic that Billy will be executed for innocently committing murder when he did indeed lie in court about a possible mutiny. Thus, he wanted to handle the matter quickly and secretly. Melville died in 1891 in New York City, not a particularly popular author. Bellipotent impresses, or involuntarily recruits, the young sailor Billy Budd, extracting him from duty aboard the Rights-of-Man, a merchant ship. One night, an after-guardsman wakes Billy up, wanting to speak with him in secret. After the Bellipotent wins the battle, they dock at an English port near Gibraltar. The narrator tells us of Billy's one serious weakness: when seized by strong emotion, he stutters.
The narrator emphasizes the horrible timing of the event right after numerous mutinies in the navy and notes how Claggart and Billy have reversed their roles: the innocent victim Billy is now the perpetrator of a crime, while the evil Claggart has become the victim. Captain Graveling Billy's old captain aboard the merchant vessel Rights-of-Man. Order a research paper on American writers from paper Masters. The result is that the story stays incredibly taut right up until the moment of Billy's execution. Bartleby the Scrivener essays discuss one of Herman Melville's best known works.
Plot Overview The setting is the last decade of the eighteenth century. After a cheery good-bye to his old mates, Billy settles in quickly among the company of the Bellipotent. The court interrogates Billy and he tells them that he did kill Claggart, but not intentionally, and that Claggart was lying: he was not plotting mutiny. But punishment is a crucial part of the naval justice system, as it deters other sailors from committing crimes. 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 with a gruff rebuke. The other men on the top deck rush up to see what's the matter, but Billy simply tells them that the afterguard was on the top deck when he wasn't supposed to be. Vere, grieving for Billy in his heart, calls a drumhead court to decide Billy's case.
But he also draws the attention of the master-at-arms, John Claggart. He tells of Captain Vere's later death in combat. It is the end of the eighteenth century, and is a young sailor on a merchant ship called the Rights-of-Man. But even the Dansker, who is reluctant to be involved in anything not directly concerning himself, gives little in the way of advice to Billy. Not really believing Claggart, Vere has both men meet with him in his cabin. Billy remains rather silent during his period of questioning, admitting to the blow but maintaining his innocence of intention and declaring his lack of affiliation with any potential mutiny.
Billy's confusion might be taken as a sign of guilt, but it is really just an indication of his innocent, naïve nature. Some days after Billy's execution, he discusses the stillness of the body with the ship surgeon. The narrator thinks that Billy is just so good and innocent that he can't conceive of the conniving, indirect ways that the minds of bad men work. But Billy doesn't know his own strength, and Claggart is slain by the blow. The ship's chaplain visits Billy the night before his execution, but can scarcely say anything helpful, as Billy seems at peace with his fate and entirely innocent.