Billy Budd Test | Final 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 doesn't the surgeon question the captain's orders?

2. What excuse does Billy give for hitting Claggart?

3. To what does Melville attribute the general attitude of most sailors?

4. Which country does the rival ship in chapter 28 represent?

5. Which character becomes very friendly towards Billy in chapter 17?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why doesn't Billy confront the afterguardsman or Claggart about any of the incidents that occurs?

3. What is unusual about Billy's death?

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

5. Why are the events on the Bellipotent distorted in the naval chronicle?

6. What is ironic about Billy's impending trial?

7. How do the sailors of the Bellipotent honor Billy's memory?

8. Why does Billy refuse to believe that Claggart is orchestrating the events that are plaguing him?

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

10. How does Melville compare religion to righteous living?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How does Melville demonstrate the contrast between good and evil? Which characters and actions are used to represent good and evil? How is the war between good and evil represented in the novel? What affect does this war have on the characters?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

How is supernatural symbolism used throughout the novel? When Captain Vere presents Billy to the crew as a murderer, how do the supernatural symbols present during Billy's execution and burial contradict the captain's claims? How is supernatural symbolism used to honor Billy's memory and preserve the truth?

(see the answer keys)

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