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. Who tells Billy of his sentence?

2. What event occurs after Billy's funeral?

3. How does Melville characterize sailors in general?

4. Where does Captain Vere send Billy after Claggart's death?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How is Billy like a sacrificial lamb?

3. What is unusual about Billy's death?

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

5. How does Claggart's expression begin to betray his feelings in chapter 17?

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

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

8. What accusation does Claggart bring against Billy?

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

10. Why isn't the chaplain worried about Billy's impending judgment?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

How is sarcasm used in the novel? Compare the use of sarcasm with deception. How does Billy's innocence contrast with Claggart's sarcasm? How does it affect his perception of the sarcasm? What did Claggart really mean when he said, "Handsomely done, my lad! And handsome is as handsome did it, too!"

(see the answer keys)

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