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. Where is Billy buried?

2. In chapter 18, which character reports suspicious behavior of a sailor to Captain Vere?

3. How does Claggart die?

4. What excuse does Billy give for hitting Claggart?

5. Why does the Captain feel that Billy must be punished?

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

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

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

6. What is the significance of Captain Vere's last words?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare and contrast Billy Budd's character with John Claggart's character. Which characteristics indicate that Billy is the protagonist? Which characteristics indicate that Claggart is the antagonist? What role does innocence, truth, mystery and deception play in their characters?

Essay Topic 2

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 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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