Billy Bud: Contrast Between Good And Evil

Since the beginning of time, there has always been a
tenacious struggle between good and evil. In a particular famous book, The
Bible, the continuous clash between good and evil remains evident
throughout the work. In Herman Melville's novel, Billy Budd, symbolism,
characterization, and irony are put to use to develop the dramatic contrast
between good and evil.
Symbolism is used to directly contrast good and evil. The
night before Billy's hanging, "through the rose-tan of his complexion no
pallor could have shown." Billy portrays a very pure Christ-like
character before his demise. His white garb, and natural glowing of light
makes his death seem symbolic for good. Claggort ...

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Billy ascended; and ascending
took the full rose of the dawn." Claggort's death completely contrasts
with the pure death of Billy Budd. Billy's death is portrayed as good,
conquering, and symbolic, which directly foils that of Claggort's. Not
only using symbolism, Melville also uses characterization to contrast good
and evil.
Characterization is used to contrast the concepts of good
and evil. Billy Budd is "like a young horse fresh from the pasture
suddenly inhaling a vile whiff from some chemical factory." Billy's
innocence and purity is exterminated at the hands of his main enemy, John
Claggort, " much such as Adam presumably might have been ere the urbane
Serpent wriggled himself into his company." Claggort's " silken jet curls…
and pallor tinged with a faint shade of amber skin" even denote evil.
Dark traits are often used to express evil, as light and beauty to express
good. In contrast to Claggort, Billy Budd's "welkin-eyes", blonde hair,
and tan complexion ...

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Billy Bud: Contrast Between Good And Evil. (2005, September 15). Retrieved July 30, 2021, from
"Billy Bud: Contrast Between Good And Evil.", 15 Sep. 2005. Web. 30 Jul. 2021. <>
"Billy Bud: Contrast Between Good And Evil." September 15, 2005. Accessed July 30, 2021.
"Billy Bud: Contrast Between Good And Evil." September 15, 2005. Accessed July 30, 2021.
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Added: 9/15/2005 06:44:50 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 639
Pages: 3

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