Billy Budd | Literature Criticism Critical Essay by Walter L. Reed

This literature criticism consists of approximately 16 pages of analysis & critique of Billy Budd.
This section contains 4,546 words
(approx. 16 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Walter L. Reed

Critical Essay by Walter L. Reed

SOURCE: “The Measured Forms of Captain Vere,” in Modern Fiction Studies, Vol. 23, No. 2, Summer, 1977, pp. 227–35.

In the following essay, Reed examines the conflict between aesthetic and legal forms of order and expression in Billy Budd.

The figure of Captain Vere in Melville's Billy Budd is a particularly enigmatic one, as generations of critical controversy testify. He proves to be a harsh, even savage disciplinarian but is presented as a man of considerable culture and civilization as well. In one of the last chapters of the story, after Billy's execution, the author reports something of Vere's social philosophy and reflections on the revolution in France; the author credits Vere with a curious application of the myth of Orpheus. “‘With mankind,’ he would say, ‘forms, measured forms, are...

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This section contains 4,546 words
(approx. 16 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Walter L. Reed
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