Billy Budd: Was Captain Vere Right?

Topics: Capital punishment, Murder, Crime Pages: 2 (631 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Billy Budd: Was Captain Vere Right?

Captain Vere makes the right decision by executing Billy Budd. If CaptainVere lets Billy live the rest of the crew might get the impression that they will not be held accountable for their crimes. If the crew feels that they can get away with what ever they want then there is a chance that they might form a rebellion and have a mutiny. A mutiny would destroy the stability and good name of the ship and the crew. Captain Vere does not want to see this happen. There are three main reasons Captain Vere makes the right decision by executing Billy Budd. These reasons are that if Billy lives then a mutiny might occur, because the law states that a crime as severe as Billy's is punishable by death, and Captain Vere feels sorry for Billy and does not want Billy to suffer with guilt until a martial court could give a decision.

If Billy is not executed then corruption might occur on the ship and cause a mutiny. Captain Vere knows that a mutiny might occur and does not want it to happen. Captain Vere could possibly be using Billy's execution for his crime of killing Claggart as an example for the rest of the crew. It shows the crew what will happen to them if they try to start a mutiny. After Billy's death CaptainVere obviously feels regret for executing Billy. Captain Vere's last words are "Billy Budd, Billy Budd" (p. 76) show an example of this. Those last words might symbolize that Captain Vere killed Billy for the wrong reasons. If CaptainVere uses Billy's death for an example to the rest of the crew then it might not necessarily be the wrong reason. CaptainVere has to decide between one life and the lives of the entire crew. No matter what Captain Vere's reasons are he does make the right decision.

Another reason CaptainVere might of executed Billy Budd is because CaptainVere follows the law to the letter. The law states that mutiny is punishable to by death. Some readers might not see this accidental...
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