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 astonishes Captain Vere about the report he receives in chapter 18?

2. Whom do the officers want to contact?

3. How does Meville characterize Billy?

4. How does the chase in chapter 18 end?

5. Why doesn't the chaplain try to intervene on Billy's behalf?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Melville explain the trusting nature of most sailors?

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

4. What explanations are given for the odd nature of Billy's death?

5. What is unusual about Billy's death?

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

7. How does Captain Vere view Billy before the foretopman is confronted with the accusation of mutiny?

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

9. How is Billy like a sacrificial lamb?

10. Why does Captain Vere feel it necessary to deliver the court's verdict to Billy personally?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What ironies are evident throughout the novel? What ironic elements are present in Billy's trial and execution? What ironic elements are presented in the manner in which Billy's story is reported on land versus at sea?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the difference between reporting illicit activities and tattling. Which factors prevent Billy from reporting the afterguardsman to the captain? What effect does not reporting the incident have on Billy's character? How might the outcome of the novel be different if Billy had chosen to report the afterguardsman to his superiors?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the role violence plays in the novel. When does violence appear to be justified? When does violence appear to be immoral? How does violence, whether justified or immoral, affect the characters in the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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