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 the greatest fear in the British Navy?

2. What is Captain Vere's nickname?

3. Why is Billy reprimanded in chapter nine?

4. Which types of books does Captain Vere prefer?

5. How old is Billy?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is Captain Vere's favorite hobby?

3. Describe Admiral Nelson.

4. How does deception destroy both Claggart and Billy?

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

6. How does the scourging affect Billy?

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

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

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

10. How does Melville explain moral depravity?

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

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 3

What role does fate play in the novel? Which characters accept their proposed fates and which characters appear to struggle against fate? How does fate affect justice?

(see the answer keys)

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