Billy Budd | Critical Essay by James E. Miller, Jr.

This literature criticism consists of approximately 13 pages of analysis & critique of Billy Budd.
This section contains 3,772 words
(approx. 13 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by James E. Miller, Jr.

Critical Essay by James E. Miller, Jr.

SOURCE: “Billy Budd: The Catastrophe of Innocence,” in Modern Language Notes, Vol. 73, No. 3, March, 1958, pp. 168–76.

In the following essay, Miller considers the symbolism and significance of the character Billy Budd, focusing on the nature of his innocence.

Billy Budd has the distinction of being Melville's final fiction, the last embodiment of his complex vision.1 In it Melville did not attempt to find new truth through an old form but discovered a new form for an old, familiar theme. The theme may be found explicitly formulated as early as 1850 in White Jacket. There, placed in one of the inconspicuous chapters is the narrator's comment, arising from his witnessing the paradoxical Christian prayer of a “murderous,” death-dealing man-of-war canoneer, that given the current social construction of the world, which...

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This section contains 3,772 words
(approx. 13 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by James E. Miller, Jr.
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