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. In chapter 15, which character appears to be conspiring to destroy Billy's character?

2. Which character is known for his malicious envy?

3. What nickname does Billy's older friend give him?

4. What attitude does Captain Vere gain from his studies?

5. What is Billy's position on the ship?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does deception destroy both Claggart and Billy?

2. How does Billy's threat of physical force when confronted by the afterguardsman foreshadow his downfall?

3. What is a mutiny?

4. What is the first recorded mutiny in the British navy?

5. Describe Admiral Nelson.

6. Describe John Claggart.

7. What is Billy's one flaw?

8. Describe Captain Vere.

9. Who is the Dansker and how does he help Billy?

10. How does the scourging affect Billy?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

What role does the fear of mutiny play in the novel? How does the fear of mutiny affect discipline on board 18th century British ships? Describe two forms of discipline utilized on board ships in the 18th century and indicate the strengths and weaknesses of each form of discipline.

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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