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 does the narrator suggest that Claggart would like to do with Billy's goodness?

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

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

4. What animal does Claggart's sidekick resemble?

5. Why is Billy reprimanded in chapter nine?

Short Essay Questions

1. What information does Dansker give to Billy Budd on their first meeting?

2. How are the events that occur on the Bellipotent distorted on land?

3. What is Billy's one flaw?

4. How does Melville compare the politics that surround Billy's case with Jesus' trial?

5. How does Billy respond to Claggart's accusations about the mutiny?

6. How does Melville compare Billy's death to Jesus' crucifixion?

7. What type of sailor is described as being a "Handsome Sailor"?

8. Why is Billy Budd still so confused about the potential mutiny the morning after his meeting with the mysterious man?

9. Who is revealed as being the tormentor playing dirty tricks on Billy Budd?

10. Why does Captain Vere insist that the drumhead court render judgment according to the Mutiny Act?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Claggart is often referred to in the text as being completely evil, working tirelessly to bring into fruition Billy Budd's demise.

Part 1. Describe the characteristics or actions that Claggart is given that support his comparisons to pure evil.

Part 2. Describe the characteristics or actions that Claggart is given that contradict his comparisons to pure evil.

Part 3. Discuss whether or not you believe comparing Claggart to pure evil is a fair, and accurate, comparison.

Essay Topic 3

How does emotional repression affect the development of emotion among the sailors on the Bellipotent? How does Claggart's repression of feelings magnify his anger? What is the consequence of his repression? How does Billy's repression of his feelings magnify his sense of confusion? What is the consequence of his repression?

(see the answer keys)

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