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Billy Budd SailorS BillyBut with Billy Budd s ability to mesmerize his fellow seamen while ably performing his duties as foretopman on the ship he did have an Achilles heel as it were manifesting an occasional nervous stutter that made it difficult for Billy to speak when he most needed to a state that led to the primary confrontation of Melville s brief novel At this point I am forced to issue a Spoiler AdvisoryAnother character on board is Dansker an older sailor who warns Billy of Claggart s potential to harm him but Billy is so na ve without guile that he seems nable to comprehend why he could possibly be the source of anyone s discomfort let alone malice In spite of Billy s abiding innocence Claggart does lay a trap that ltimately leads to the demise of both with Captain Vere presiding over a drumcourt that condemns Billy for striking a superior officer shortchanged of #A VOCAL DEFENSE OF HIMSELF BY HIS TEMPORARY SPEECHLESSNESS # vocal defense of himself by his temporary speechlessness Vere is forced to follow military code though he had despised Claggart had grown to revere BillyHe was old enough to have been Billy s father In spite of the austerity of military duty he let himself melt back into what remains primeval in our formalized humanity may in the end have caught Billy to his heart even as Abraham may have caught young Isaac on the brink of resolutely offering him p in obedience But there is no telling the sacrament seldom if ever revealed to the world That the condemned one suffered less than he who had mainly effected the condemnation was apparent The night before Billy Budd is to die he is visited by a minister of Christ receiving his stipend from Mars a man who doesn t know The Cowboy Wants a Wife! uite how to comfort the young sailor but before departing kisses Billy s cheek It is said that Budd was incapable of conceiving what death really is wholly without irrational fear of it Billy listened to the man but less out of reverence than from a certain natural politeness And this sailor way of taking clerical discourse was notnlike the way in which the primer of Christianity full of transcendent miracles was received long ago on a tropic isle by a superior savage a Tahitian say of Captain Cook s time Out of natural courtesy he received but did not appropriate it It was a gift placed in the palm of an outstretched hand on which the fingers do not close And at the moment of HIS UNDOING WITHOUT A HINT OF undoing without a hint of Billy Budd shouts God bless Captain Vere Yes Melville creates a sacrificial lamb and if memory serves me in the excellent black white film version with Terrence Stamps as Billy Robert Ryan as Claggart Peter Ustinov as Captain Vere there is a kind of epilogue suggesting that justice will live as long as the human heart and law will live as long as the human mind There is also an excellent operatic depiction of Melville s tale by Benjamin Britten And so ends a tragedy of wonderfully rendered force that is somehow plifting at least for me And for Billy s fellow sailors on the Bellipotent it was said that the spar from which the foretopman was suspended became sacred like a chip from the cross on which Christ died The novel ends with a poem composed by one of Billy s mates an epitaph entitled Billy in the Darbies with that word employed to describe the chains or handcuffs in which Billy spent his final night It is a the chains or handcuffs in which Billy spent his final night It is a fitting conclusion to this powerful story one with many biblical references and very memorable characters My University of Chicago Press version of Billy Budd Sailor 1962 featured a comprehensive post mortem of the original Melville manuscript housed at the Houghton Library at Harvard University done by Ha. E story of Billy a cheerful hard working and handsome young sailor conscripted to work against his will on another ship where he soon finds himself persecuted by Claggart the paranoid master at arms As things escalate beyond the naive Billy's control tragedy looms on the horizon lik. It s an story from English Lit and honestly I remember very little I didn t even remember I read it so you see how it stuck with me Melville s Billy Budd Sailor I read it so you see how it stuck with me Melville s Billy Budd Sailor an Unfinished Work But One That work but one that in its 3rd draft at the point when the author died in 1891 which was subseuently tended to by his widow before being published to great acclaim 30 years later in 1924 and then in a 2nd revised format in 1948 In reading the book a 3rd time I continue to find Melville s novella a most captivating tale and one conveying considerable psychological depth With each draft there was a broadening of the 3 principal characters 1st Billy Budd then the master of arms John Claggart and finally the ship s captain Edward Fairfax Vere With Herman Melville so much of the detail within his novels is reflective of his experiences at sea on whaling ships for as Melville put it I ascribe all the honor glory of my life to whaling for a whale ship was my Yale College my Harvard It was said that at this time men often ran away to the sea as women took themselves to a nunnery in an attempt to expiate past sins or alter their fate by somehow transforming themselves And so much of the author s nautical education involved a study of how men at sea interacted with one another observing the complexity of personalities on long whaling ship voyages particularly in view of the rigid hierarchy of roles in the case of Billy Budd set on board a British man of war in 1797 At the novel s outset Billy has just been transferred to the Bellipotent biding an audible farewell to the Rights of Man that being the name of his former merchant ship ickly providing a framework though which Billy is measured as a newcomer forced to adaptHowever Billy Budd is no ordinary sailor but rather an exceedingly innocent lad who his shipmates The Highlander and the Wolf Princess (Legend of the Faol, uickly come to love excepting the one named Claggart who is both transfixed by Billy s seeming purity of spirit and his stature among his fellow seaman Is Billy to be seen as a Christ figure or a gay icon of some sort with reviewers following both camps I sense that Billy is far complex than a character who can beickly shoehorned into a single type My focus has remained that Billy a foundling somehow appears childlike Whiteout (Threes Allowed, untainted seemingly so natural so as to confound those he encounters displaying aality that both amazes captivates those who observe him on board the man of war But the ability to attract attention due to his good looks sense of youthful The Princes Ultimate Deception (Monte Carlo Affairs, uprightness causes the master of arms to work atndermining Budd with Claggart s conniving belligerence not Breaking the Governesss Rules unlike that of Shakespeare s Othello Claggart is described as a man of constitutional sobriety an ingratiating deference to superiors a peculiar ferreting genius capped by a certain austere patriotism with it all an abject fear of Billy s ability to charm merged with a supremely antagonist suspicion of the man who some on board called Baby For Billy came on boardlike a Catholic priest striking peace in an Irish shindy disturbance Not that he preached to his fellow sailors or did anything in particular but a virtue went out of him sugaring the sour ones They took to him like hornets to treacle all but the buffer of the gang the big shaggy chap with the fire red whiskers who perhaps out of envy of the newcomer thinking that such a sweet pleasant fellow could hardly have the spirit of a gamecock bestirred himself to get into a row with Billy insultingly giving him a dig in the ribsick as lightening Billy let fly his arms gave Red Whiskers a terrible drubbing And will you believe it the fellow now really love. Herman Melville's final masterpiece found npublished on his desk at his death Billy Budd Sailor would emerge after its publication in 1924 as one of Melville's best loved books and one of his most open with its discussion of homosexualty In it Melville returns to the sea to tell th. Rrison Hayford Northwestern Merton Sealts Harvard with many references to the Melville s genetic text vs the reading text There is terminology within the work that is at times obliue but the novel remains a classic work in spite of some occasionally distracting minor flaws I feel comfortable with my 5 rating Billy Budd adds to the evidence in Moby Dick that Melville was a master of the English language and a master of all things nautical It s a great short tale of good evil and the sometimes harrowing injustice of circumstance It was fascinating to see in Melville s last work the dramatic difference in his earlier writing and the style of Billy Budd For example comparing two completely random sentences first from TypeeIn the course of a few days Toby had recovered from the effects of his adventure with the Happar warriors the wound on his head rapidly healing nder the vegetable treatment of the good TinorAnd from Billy BuddNevertheless to anybody who can hold the Present at its worth without being inappreciative of the Past it may be forgiven if to such an one the solitary old hulk at Portsmouth Nelson s Victory seems to float there not alone as the decaying monument of a fame incorruptible but also as a poetic reproach softened by its picturesueness to the Monitors and yet mightier hulls of the European ironcladsThe language in Billy Budd is remarkably dense and lush It makes for a difficult read but also makes the effort that much rewarding A DigressionThe other reviews of Billy Budd by high school kids and adults who read Billy Budd in high school are indicative of the overall ality of education in the US This isn t to come across as condescending if I had read it in High School my review would have probably been eually dismal since I was in no way prepared to appreciate a book that wasn t as exciting as a Bond movie prepared to appreciate a book that wasn t as exciting as a Bond movie that sed sentences complex than Lord of the Flies Billy Budd definitely shouldn t be reuired reading in high school at least not ntil high school provides a competent enough education for students to appreciate a great work even if they don t like it But again I digressThe

Story Of Billy Budd Isn 
of Billy Budd isn the most moving that I ve ever read but the characters are good and it s interesting moral dilemma I think the criticism that it is too blatantly a metaphor for Christ come from people who either don t nderstand Billy Budd or don t The Life of Corgnelius and Stumphrey understand the basics of the life of Christ Budd is probably a metaphorical character and maybe even for Christ but it s naive to givep on the book and characterize him as simply a mechanical metaphor for Christ There are enough differences enough other issues raised and enough nuances to make Billy Budd stand on its own as a solid book and a precautionary tale of the harsh realities of justice and circumstance Herman Melville s place in the literary canon is secure today mainly on the strength of his novel Moby Dick but ironically that work was largely panned by critics and regular readers alike when it was published and in the last decades of his life he died in 1891 the author turned away from trying to publish fiction to write poetry instead But he didn t give The Amish Midwife (Lancaster Courtships, up writing fiction privately and this novella begun late in 1888 is the testament to Dear High School Curriculum WritersI am positive that you can find a better novel than this one tose when introducing symbolism and extended metaphor to developing readers Christ figure is the most over The Greeks Acquisition used of these extended metaphors oversed to the point where its offensiveness ceases to be about the in your face religious aspect of it and becomes inst. E Melville's great white whale and the story become Melville's final sublime plunge into the classic tussle between civilization and chaos between oppression and freedom as well as the book in which he discusses homosexuality most openly One of the major works of American literature.

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