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 four, which sailor is hailed as the greatest of all time?

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

3. What is Captain Vere's favorite hobby?

4. Which types of books does Captain Vere prefer?

5. What other name is a reference to Captain Vere?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Melville contrast Billy and Claggart's characters?

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

3. How does deception destroy both Claggart and Billy?

4. What is a "Handsome Sailor"?

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

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

7. What incident is the catalyst for Billy's demise?

8. Describe Admiral Nelson.

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How is supernatural symbolism used throughout the novel? When Captain Vere presents Billy to the crew as a murderer, how do the supernatural symbols present during Billy's execution and burial contradict the captain's claims? How is supernatural symbolism used to honor Billy's memory and preserve the truth?

Essay Topic 2

What ironies are evident throughout the novel? What ironic elements are present in Billy's trial and execution? What ironic elements are presented in the manner in which Billy's story is reported on land versus at sea?

Essay Topic 3

According to Melville, why are sailors more trusting than men who live on land? How does age and training relate to the trust Melville claims sailors exhibit? Why does Billy have a greater sense of trust than Claggart since both are sailors?

(see the answer keys)

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