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Billy Budd Essay

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Billy Budd Essay "Struck dead by an angel of God! Yet the angel must hang!"(p.60). This quote, famously spoken in the short story of Billy Budd by Herman Melville, presents to readers one of the most wondrous characters in all of Literature, Billy Budd. Originally written near the end of Melville's life in 1891 and never completely finished, this short story is an intriguing tale of a young sailor's life at sea. Billy Budd, being the protagonist, is a young 21-year-old cheery sailor who is impressed into military service in England. Called "Baby Budd" by his fellow sailors, Billy is a physically beautiful, handsome young lad whose popularity and hypnotizing good looks gets the attention of every sailor on board the Indomitable. ...read more.


But this causes problems when Billy soon assumes that every person on the ship admires him and ignorantly thinks that his fellow sailors all have good intentions and happy feelings toward himself. And being a young, ignorant sailor who has never experienced anything evil, Billy is disillusioned by his own na�ve nature and character and mistakes Claggart as a friend. An example of Billy's ignorant character is when he accidentally spills a bowl of soup on the ship and can't even sense the hatred in Claggart's joke-like response when he says, "Handsomely done, my lad! And handsome is as handsome did it too!"(p.34). And Billy is still too na�ve to believe that Claggart is out to get him even when he asks an old, wise sailor named Dansker who says that "Jimmy Legs (Claggart) ...read more.


The author also relates Billy to Adam before the fall and to a barbarian to further present to readers the purity and natural innocence of Billy before he is confronted with Claggart's hatred and evil. Overall, the character of Billy Budd was that of a person who was very innocent, but yet, also ignorant. Though he was very ignorant and na�ve, he was still able to understand the idea of death and was ready to face it. After reading the novel, one would say that Billy was a very influencing figure because of his wondrous character traits and symbolism in this story. This story was very intriguing and genuine and gave readers a whole new view on the idea of innocence. ...read more.

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