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. In which article are the events on the Bellipotent published?

2. How does Captain Vere appear after he leaves Billy in chapter 22?

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

4. What does Billy cry out a moment before his punishment is carried out?

5. To what famous item does Melville compare the sacred item from the Bellipotent?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is unusual about Billy's death?

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

4. Describe Claggart's funeral.

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

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

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

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

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

10. How does Captain Vere explain Billy's execution to the crew?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What is a "cat's paw" and which characters represent this analogy? Why does Claggart choose to use a "cat's paw" instead of dealing with Billy himself? How does the use of the "cat's paw" backfire on Claggart?

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 role does the Dansker play in the novel? How does Billy view the Dansker? How does the Dansker view Billy? Why does Dansker feel the need to clarify the events around Billy without offering advice on how to cope with those events?

(see the answer keys)

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