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 decoration marks the Victory's quarterdeck?

2. Which character is considered by others to be the most attractive in every aspect?

3. Which Captain is involved in the mutiny at Nore?

4. About what subject does Captain Vere ramble to his sailors, citing examples that the men have never heard of?

5. What is a mutiny?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Melville compare religion to righteous living?

2. Describe Admiral Nelson.

3. What is the significance of the seagulls that are attracted to Billy's burial?

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

5. How does Billy react to Claggart's accusation?

6. What generalizations does the narrator make about the mentality of sailors, especially in regards to their distrust of others?

7. How do ruling bodies on board a ship compare to ruling bodies on land?

8. What does the Captain urge the court to keep in mind as they are deciding Billy Budd's fate?

9. Why does Billy cry out "God bless Captain Vere!" moments before his execution?

10. What religious event compares to Billy's funeral?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Describe the qualities of the quintessential "Handsome Sailor". How does the "Handsome Sailor" affect the attitudes and actions of the crew of the Bellipotent? What risks are associated with being the "Handsome Sailor"?

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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