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 responsibility on board the ship?

2. Which act does Claggart believe is an intentional attempt to offend him?

3. Which two characters are contrasted in chapter 12?

4. In chapter four, which naval commander is hailed as one of the greatest strategists of all time?

5. Which character is known for this neat, careful dress?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Melville explain moral depravity?

2. How does the scourging affect Billy?

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

4. Who is Starry Vere?

5. Describe Captain Vere.

6. What is Captain Vere's favorite hobby?

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

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

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

10. What is a mutiny?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What role does the Dansker play in the novel? How does Billy view the Dansker? How does the Dansker view Billy? Why does Dansker feel the need to clarify the events around Billy without offering advice on how to cope with those events?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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