Complete analysis of Billy Budd Sailor.

The young man Billy Budd was impressed by the British warship H. M. S. Bellipotent while he was working on a merchant ship called the Rights-of-Man.  While on his new ship, Billy tries his hardest at every task he is given and especially in his role as the foretopman.  Because of his innocence, Billy does not understand why the master-at-arms, Claggart, could be so cruel to him when he barely even knows him, so he asks the Dansker who believes that Claggart has a grudge against Billy.  When Claggart accuses Billy of leading a mutiny conspiracy, Billy punches him in the face and accidentally kills him, with Captain Vere as a witness.  After a trial, Billy is found guilty and is sentenced to death by hanging, the moment when he utters his last words, “God bless Captain Vere.”  The story is ironic because when Captain Vere dies in the end his last words are, “Billy Budd, Billy Budd” which demonstrates that even though he was the one who brought Billy to trial, he was sorry that Billy was hanged.  The story “Billy Budd, Sailor” by Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, raises the ontological questions of “what is evil, is truth absolute or relative, and is a person inherently good, or bad, or both?”

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