Billy Budd: One Needs To Have Morality And Virtue



Before the Fall, Adam and Eve were perfect. They were innocent
and ignorant, yet perfect, so they were allowed to abide in the presence
of God. Once they partook of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good
and Evil, however, they immediately became unclean as well as mortal. In
Billy Budd, the author, Herman Melville, presents a question that stems
from this original sin of our first parents: Is it better to be innocent
and ignorant, but good and righteous, or is it better to be experienced
and knowledgeable? Through this book, Melville is telling that one need
to strike some kind of balance between these two ideas; a person needs to
have morality and virtue; needs to be in ...

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recited. Ashore he is the champion,
afloat the spokesman; on every suitable occasion always foremost.
Despite his popularity among the crew and his hardworking attitude,
Billy is transferred to another British ship, the Indomitable. And while
he is accepted for his looks and happy personality, hardly here is he that
cynosure he had previously been among those minor ship's companies of the
merchant marine. It is here, on the Indomitable that Billy says good-bye
to his rights. It is here, also, that Billy meets John Claggart, the
master-at-arms. A man in whom was the mania of an evil nature, not
engendered by vicious training or corrupting books or licentious living but
born with him and innate, in short a depravity according to nature.
Here then, is presented a man with a personality and character to
contrast and conflict with Billy's. Sweet, innocent Billy immediately
realizes that this man is someone he does not wish to cross and so after
seeing Claggart whip another ...

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in, Melville has
the reader ask themselves a question: Would it be right for Billy to heed
the advice of experience and wisdom and tell the captain about Claggart's
conspiracy? Or should he instead keep his mouth shut and try to work
things out himself?
Being the good person that he is, Billy tries to forget about it
and hopes that it will pass, but it does not. And that is where the fourth
of these few characters comes in. Captain Vere, with his love for
knowledge and books, and his settled convictions which stood as a dam
against those invading waters of novel opinion, social, political, and
otherwise, which carried away as in a torrent no few minds in those days,
minds by nature ...

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Added: 2/22/2004 08:55:25 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2664
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