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Billy Budd - College Essays

Billy Budd


Famous author E.B. White once offered this quote, "Advice to young writers who want to get ahead without delays: don't write about Man, write about a man." Although Herman Melville was neither young or inexperienced, in he chose to write not about Man, but about one particularly honest and handsome sailor named . Not only does Melville's exploration of Billy's life, character, and trials lead the reader to question the inevitable moral dilemma that is produced; but furthermore and more symbolically important is Melville's illusionary comparisons of to the Christ figure which contribute both to the conflict and to the readers own sympathy for 's hopeless situation.
's characteristics ...

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appearance. In the following text, Billy is appropriately named for his attributes by the narrator: "The moral nature was seldom out of keeping with the physical make. Indeed, except as toned by the former, the comeliness and power, always attractive in masculine conjunction, hardly could have drawn the sort of honest homage the Handsome Sailor in some examples received from his less gifted associates" (6). When the text of is read through a Christian interpretation these attributes of purity and perfection point towards another person in Christian tradition who was also both pure and perfect. Jesus Christ of Nazareth was considered by the New Testament texts and early Christians as being spiritually perfect which accounted for and lead to his total purity. In their eyes, Jesus never did anything wrong and spoke of love and understanding. Similarly, Billy united and calmed people with his presence. According to the following text: "…Billy came, and it was like a Catholic ...

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aboard the Indomitable did not like Billy as is evident in this text: "Claggart's envy struck deeper. If askance he eyed the good looks, cheery health, and frank enjoyment of young life in …" (38). Interpreting this through a Christian perspective, the enemy had in Claggart was symbolic of the enemies Christ had in either the demonic realm or less supernatural powers like the Jewish leaders who wanted to get rid of him and get him in trouble. Thus, in both stories, the main character is brought to trial. Melville uses this event in his writing to yet again produce striking similarities between Billy and Christ's behavior during their trials. According to New Testament ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 1/17/2005 01:07:02 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1392
Pages: 6

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