Billy Budd | Critical Essay by Milton R. Stern

This literature criticism consists of approximately 57 pages of analysis & critique of Billy Budd.
This section contains 16,952 words
(approx. 57 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Milton R. Stern

Critical Essay by Milton R. Stern

SOURCE: “Billy Budd,” in The Fine Hammered Steel of Herman Melville, University of Illinois Press, 1957, pp. 206–39.

In the following essay, Stern explores the nature of sacrifice and the role of the hero in Billy Budd.

Translated Cross, hast thou withdrawn, Dim paling too at every dawn, With symbols vain once counted wise, And gods declined to heraldries? .....The atheist cycles—must they be? Fomenters as forefathers we? 

—[Melville,] Clarel

Morally, philosophically, emotionally, socially, Melville's search for the complete man is not the search for the knightly hero, but for the Governor. The Governor must repress man's anarchic atheism and must reorient man's frantic activities.

The quester is an atheist because he denies history and thereby rejects man's only possible God. The quietist is an atheist because he denies human commitments and...

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This section contains 16,952 words
(approx. 57 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Milton R. Stern
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