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. What is Billy's position on the ship?

2. Which Captain is involved in the mutiny at Nore?

3. Which character is known for his cheerful disposition?

4. What does another sailor try to give Billy in chapter 14?

5. How is John Claggart's appearance described in chapter eight?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who is the afterguardsman?

2. How does the social climate on board a ship compare to the social climate on land?

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

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

5. What is a mutiny?

6. What is Captain Vere's favorite hobby?

7. How do the officers aboard the Bellipotent view Captain Vere?

8. Which one of the seven deadly sins drives Claggart to destroy Billy?

9. How does Billy's innocence affect his ability to react to the afterguardsman's proposal?

10. How does deception destroy both Claggart and Billy?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How is sarcasm used in the novel? Compare the use of sarcasm with deception. How does Billy's innocence contrast with Claggart's sarcasm? How does it affect his perception of the sarcasm? What did Claggart really mean when he said, "Handsomely done, my lad! And handsome is as handsome did it, too!"

Essay Topic 2

How does Melville demonstrate the contrast between good and evil? Which characters and actions are used to represent good and evil? How is the war between good and evil represented in the novel? What affect does this war have on the characters?

Essay Topic 3

What is a "cat's paw" and which characters represent this analogy? Why does Claggart choose to use a "cat's paw" instead of dealing with Billy himself? How does the use of the "cat's paw" backfire on Claggart?

(see the answer keys)

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