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. Why do personalities seem clash more aboard a ship?

2. What type of personal life does Captain Vere lead?

3. Which character is described in chapter 11 as being "down" on Billy?

4. What elements of ship's life are mirrored in the world outside the ship?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Describe Captain Vere.

4. How do the sailors on board the Bellipotent view John Claggart?

5. How does deception destroy both Claggart and Billy?

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

7. Why is Claggart "down" on Billy?

8. Describe Billy's background.

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

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 does literature affect Captain Vere's character? How does the genre of Captain Vere's literary preference affect his relationship with his officers and crew? How do the ideals presented in Captain Vere's favored literature affect his command style and decision making process?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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