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 often causes a mutiny?

2. What affliction plagues Billy when he is nervous?

3. What does Andrew Marvell create that commemorates Captain Vere?

4. In what year does Billy Budd's story take place?

5. What is Billy and Claggart's relationship like before they sail together on the Bellipotent?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Billy Budd witness happening to a young sailor aboard ship that has a significant impact on him?

2. What is unusual about Billy's death?

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

4. How does Captain Vere explain Billy's execution to the crew?

5. What descriptions are given of the morning as Billy Budd is brought out to face his execution?

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

7. Describe Billy's funeral.

8. Who is revealed as being the tormentor playing dirty tricks on Billy Budd?

9. What is Billy's one flaw?

10. What happens when the Bellipotent notices an enemy ship approaching them on the water?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the difference between reporting illicit activities and tattling. Which factors prevent Billy from reporting the afterguardsman to the captain? What effect does not reporting the incident have on Billy's character? How might the outcome of the novel be different if Billy had chosen to report the afterguardsman to his superiors?

Essay Topic 2

How does literature affect Captain Vere's character? How does the genre of Captain Vere's literary preference affect his relationship with his officers and crew? How do the ideals presented in Captain Vere's favored literature affect his command style and decision making process?

Essay Topic 3

In the final scene before Billy's execution, Melville gives Billy a final conversation with the ship's Chaplain.

Part 1. Explain the role that the chaplain has in the Billy Budd story.

Part 2. Compare / contrast the two powers of religion and innocence in the novel.

Part 3. Explain why you think Melville chose to write Billy's last conversation with a man of the cloth, even though he was not a religious character.

(see the answer keys)

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