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. How do the rest of the sailors respond to Claggart's reaction over Billy Budd's spill?

2. What reason does the narrator give for the potential motivation that Captain Vere has for collecting the unusual items from land?

3. Which two characters are contrasted in chapter 12?

4. Why doesn't Captain Graveling want Billy to leave the ship?

5. Which character is considered by others to be the most attractive in every aspect?

Short Essay Questions

1. What transition does Captain Vere go through when Billy is in his office listening to the accusations being brought against him?

2. How do the sailors treat Claggart when it is time to bury him?

3. What changes about the way the men aboard ship treat Billy after his encounter with the mysterious man in the middle of the night?

4. What is Billy's one flaw?

5. What historical context does the narrator give for the two mutinies and the effects that they have in battle?

6. What does the Captain urge the court to keep in mind as they are deciding Billy Budd's fate?

7. What advice does the Dansker give Billy about his confrontation with the afterguardsman?

8. What does Claggart recognize in Billy Budd's character that drives him further into envy?

9. What generalizations does the narrator make about the mentality of sailors, especially in regards to their distrust of others?

10. How does Captain Vere earn the nickname "Starry Vere"?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Discuss Melville's theory of moral depravity. How does innate moral depravity compare to moral depravity caused by licentious (sexually immoral) living? What evidence does Melville give to prove that Claggart is suffering from a form of insanity that manifests itself as innate moral depravity?

Essay Topic 2

Provide a brief description of the following literary elements the novel: Introduction, rising action, climax, falling action and denouement (resolution). How does emotion affect the progression of each element?

Essay Topic 3

Billy Budd is often referred to in the text as "An Angel".

Part 1. Describe the characteristics or actions that Billy Budd was given that support his angelic comparisons.

Part 2. Describe the characteristics or actions that Billy Budd was given that contradict his angelic comparisons.

Part 3. Discuss whether or not you believe describing Billy Budd as an angel is an accurate, and fair, comparison.

(see the answer keys)

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