Billy Budd: Good Versus Evil

Although their are many themes incorporated into the novella “ Billy Budd” written by Herman Melville on main theme stays consistent throughout the novella, the theme of good versus evil. In this theme Melville focuses on two main characters Billy Budd and John Claggart. Billy Budd is used in this novella to represent good in this theme while John Claggart is used to represent evil. This theme represented by Budd and Claggart is used by Melville for the purpose of discussing the nature of man.
Representing Good in the theme of “ good versus evil”, Billy Budd is used to depict Rousseau’s noble savage. Melville consistently, throughout the novella, refers to Budd as a “ barbarian”. By this ...

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of knowledge”. Here he compares Budd to Adam and Eve before they were coaxed by the serpent to take a bite of the apple of knowledge. It is in this way that Melville gives the reader the implication that Billy Budd is being used to represent goodness of the nature of man.
To represent the evil in the theme “ good versus evil”, Melville introduces the reader to John Claggart. In this novella John Claggart shows to have unique characteristics all of his own. His vague background links him to Budd while his Intelligence links him to Captain Vere. His depraved nature however is unlike any other characters in the novella. Melville decides to compare Claggart to Satan using biblical allusions, focusing on his evil nature. With Melville’s description of Claggart we find that he is used to represent the depraved nature of man. In his descriptions he emphasizes this when he states “ With no power to annual the elemental evil in him, though readily enough he could hide it; a nature like ...

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Billy Budd: Good Versus Evil. (2007, August 12). Retrieved December 5, 2020, from
"Billy Budd: Good Versus Evil.", 12 Aug. 2007. Web. 5 Dec. 2020. <>
"Billy Budd: Good Versus Evil." August 12, 2007. Accessed December 5, 2020.
"Billy Budd: Good Versus Evil." August 12, 2007. Accessed December 5, 2020.
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Added: 8/12/2007 11:59:05 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Free Paper
Words: 550
Pages: 2

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