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 is Billy's confidant?

2. Which famous character does the Victory's quarterdeck decoration commemorate?

3. Who is Billy's father?

4. In chapter 15, what does Billy think he should report to the captain?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Who is Squeak?

2. What does Claggart mean when he says, "Handsomely done, my lad! And handsome is as handsome does it, too!" ?

3. How do ruling bodies on board a ship compare to ruling bodies on land?

4. How does Melville explain moral depravity?

5. Who is the afterguardsman?

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

7. What is Billy's one flaw?

8. What is Captain Vere's favorite hobby?

9. What changes the face of naval warfare in the 18th century?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare and contrast Captain Vere, Captain Bligh and Admiral Nelson. How does each man's command style affect his crew? How does each man's personality affect his relationship with his crew, and how does that relationship affect the morale of the crew?

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

What is Billy's Achilles' heel and how does it affect his character? Does Billy's Achilles' heel negate his standing as the "Handsome Sailor" of the Bellipotent? Why or why not? If Billy's is the "Handsome Sailor" of the Bellipotent, how does his Achilles' heel affect the other characters?

(see the answer keys)

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