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. What excuse does Billy give for hitting Claggart?

2. How does the article about the Bellipotent view Billy's death?

3. Who tells Billy of his sentence?

4. Which two characters are Claggart's messmates?

5. What sentence does the court render in chapter 23?

Short Essay Questions

1. What misgivings do the surgeon and the other officers have about Billy's impending trial?

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

3. What explanation does Billy give for being called to the captain's cabin in chapter 19?

4. How does Melville compare religion to righteous living?

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

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

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

8. What irony is evident in the nature of Captain Vere's death?

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

10. What accusation does Claggart bring against Billy?

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 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?

Essay Topic 3

What is Billy's Achilles' heel and how does it affect his character? Does Billy's Achilles' heel negate his standing as the "Handsome Sailor" of the Bellipotent? Why or why not? If Billy's is the "Handsome Sailor" of the Bellipotent, how does his Achilles' heel affect the other characters?

(see the answer keys)

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