Billy Budd Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. To what attribute does Captain Vere's nickname refer to?

2. What does Billy inadvertently spill on Claggart in the mess hall?

3. Which battle does the Victory's quarterdeck decoration commemorate?

4. Which of the following does NOT describe the types of books that Captain Vere reads at sea?

5. What does the narrator think about the gossip coming from the sailors in regards to John Claggart's history?

Short Essay Questions

1. How do the sailors react to the Captain's announcement that Billy Budd will be executed in the morning?

2. How is Billy like a sacrificial lamb?

3. Why does the narrator have such an affinity for Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, and how does he die?

4. Why is Billy Budd still so confused about the potential mutiny the morning after his meeting with the mysterious man?

5. Why does the administration decide that it is necessary to change ranks amongst the mutinous sailors?

6. What acts do the sailors complete in remembrance of Billy Budd?

7. What happens during Captain Vere's final hours?

8. How is Billy Budd's body disposed of after his execution?

9. Why isn't the chaplain worried about Billy's impending judgment?

10. What misgivings do the surgeon and the other officers have about Billy's impending trial?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

It seems quite clear that Herman Melville did a lot of research surrounding naval life when he was constructing the novel "Billy Budd". Generate a list of three elements of the story that Melville would not have been able to construct without ample research, and discuss whether you believe the research and historical elements of the novel were successful.

Essay Topic 2

In the beginning of the novel, Billy Budd is described as being completely good, and by the end of the novel, Billy Budd is described as being completely innocent.

Part 1. Compare / Contrast those two definitions.

Part 2. Explain how the transition in Billy Budd's character was made throughout his time aboard Captain Vere's ship.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the role violence plays in the novel. When does violence appear to be justified? When does violence appear to be immoral? How does violence, whether justified or immoral, affect the characters in the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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