Reaction to Billy Budd

Topics: Billy Budd, Herman Melville, Sailor Pages: 2 (604 words) Published: December 10, 2010
Reaction Paper To Billy Budd

Billy Budd’s pain is felt through out the whole entire story. Herman Melville characterizes Billy Budd as an innocent man physically and mentally. The first feature sailors would notice about Billy was his schoolboy features, with blond hair and blue eyes. His sophisticated appearance caused some people to refer to him as “the handsome sailor”. Billy looks stood out, because most sailors were commonly known to have poor hygiene. His looks didn’t help him as much and often the sailors belittled him.

Billy’s first name is William, but the sailors felt he deserve a childish name, Billy, which was more appropriate. Commonly only young innocent boys were given names like Billy and William was thought to be someone within age. Billy was also young within mind and hasn’t ever really experienced a long sailor life. He spent brief time on the Rights of Man, after Billy is capture on to the Bellipotent, the sailors gladly introduce him to real life. At this point Billy tries to adapt to this new environment, but is still unaware of what is going on. His first extreme experience is when he sees a fellow man being flogged. The punishment forced upon this man triggered something within Billy. Billy has never seen a man flogged. The pain inflicted towards the man he viewed, also brought pain to him mentally. He wanted to know what crime did this man commit.

He tried to do everything right, so that he may not have to ever experience this type of brutality. Unfortunately, Billy’s luck was lessening, because he was going against the ruthless Claggart. Billy accidentally spills his soup and Claggart exclaims with heavy sarcasm, “Handsomely done, my lad! And handsome is as handsome did it too!” Billy fails to recognize the sarcastic remark, because he can’t understand why a person would try to hurt him. Billy’s moral disposition allows him to keep sinful thoughts out of his head. The Dansker refer to Claggart as being a spider when...
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