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The irony in the book is subtle, the fate of each character is the opposite of what is led to be expected by looking at his nature. One might think that Claggart would be the one to kill Billy because of the obsession he had with him. It is strange to think of Claggart as the victim - but that was the case.

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Billy is a sailor. His original ship was the Rights-Of-Man, but he is later impressed by the Bellipotent and he becomes a foretop man. As usual, he charms everyone. They even call him "The Handsome Sailor." On the ship, Billy is respected by everyone except the protagonist, John Claggart.



Claggart is extremely jealous and holds a considerable amount of contempt for him.

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The protagonist in the novel is Billy Budd. The experiences that Billy undergoes throughout the novel parallel what Jesus Christ endured in his life. Melville characterizes Billy Budd as an innocent man physically and mentally. The first feature sailors would notice about Billy were his schoolboy features, with blond hair and blue eyes. His suave looks caused some people to refer to him as "the handsome sailor"(16). Most often sailors were scurvy men, quite of...

There is also a conflict involving Captain Vere when he is forced to decide on the fate of Billy Budd after he kills Claggart.
John Claggart (Master-At-Arms) tries to destroy Billy Budd because he is jealous of Billy’s reputation and acceptance among the crew.

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Captain Vere knows that Billy did not mean for him to die, but he still calls a trial for murder. Captain Vere also knows that Billy was not going to revolt, but because of the mutinies that had been taking place at that time, Vere does not want to show any weakness. Billy could have probably gotten off had he turned in the other men who were actually planning to revolt but he doesn't because of his loyalty to his crew. He lost the trial and was hanged, his last words being, "God Bless Captain Vere!"



The use of symbols heavily influences the book. Most of the symbols are religious ones because of Melville's belief at the time. The most compelling symbol is that of Billy being compared to Jesus. Like Jesus, he is viewed as pure and innocent and having no real character flaws. He always tries to do the right thing and stay out of everyone's way. Claggart would be compared to the Pharisees with whom Jesus had to deal. His whole purpose is to cause the downfall of Billy, and he succeeds. Billy is also a symbol of Jesus while he is at trial. While Jesus is on trial, he says nothing in his own defense that could facilitate his release. Neither does Billy. Also, when Billy dies, his last words are "God Bless Captain Vere!" By this he was asking God to save Captain Vere's soul because he didn't know what he was doing. That is the same as when Jesus said, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." Also, the monument raised in his honor symbolizes Jesus' resurrection. Captain Vere symbolized Pontius Pilate because he had Billy sentenced to death because he worried about what others would think of him, just as Pilate was afraid to upset Caesar with the release of Jesus.

Buddhism shares many ideologies with India’s Hinduism and Yoga such as non-harming, non-violence, and self-awareness....

Billy Budd by Herman Melville Essay Example for Free

JACQUES IMBRAILO, Budd. TOBY SPENCE, Vere. BRINDLEY SHERRATT, Claggart. SAM FURNESS, novicio. ORQUESTA Y CORO TITULARES DEL TEATRO REAL. IVOR BOLTON, director. Producción de DEBORAH WARNER.

A Buddhist’s foremost aspiration is the obtainment of Bodhi, or enlightenment through meditation and Anapana-sati (awareness of the breath).

Melville billy budd analysis essay

The comparison and contrast of characters, Billy Budd, Captain Vere, and Claggart in Billy Budd, and the `narrator' and Bartleby in Bartleby, at times are very much alike, and also very different....