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. How does Admiral Nelson keep his sailors under control?

2. Which mutiny is referred to as "the Great Mutiny"?

3. Who causes the uncomfortable incident in chapter 10?

4. Why doesn't Captain Graveling want Billy to leave the ship?

5. When does the Spithead mutiny occur?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Describe Billy Budd.

3. Describe Admiral Nelson.

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

5. Who is Squeak?

6. How does deception destroy both Claggart and Billy?

7. How does the scourging affect Billy?

8. How does Melville explain moral depravity?

9. What is a "Handsome Sailor"?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What is a "cat's paw" and which characters represent this analogy? Why does Claggart choose to use a "cat's paw" instead of dealing with Billy himself? How does the use of the "cat's paw" backfire on Claggart?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss Melville's theory of moral depravity. How does innate moral depravity compare to moral depravity caused by licentious (sexually immoral) living? What evidence does Melville give to prove that Claggart is suffering from a form of insanity that manifests itself as innate moral depravity?

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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