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. To which biblical figure does Melville compare Claggart?

2. What item from the Bellipotent becomes sacred to the crew?

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

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

5. Where is Billy confined in chapter 24?

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

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

5. Describe Claggart's funeral.

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

7. How does Melville compare religion to righteous living?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

According to Melville, why are sailors more trusting than men who live on land? How does age and training relate to the trust Melville claims sailors exhibit? Why does Billy have a greater sense of trust than Claggart since both are sailors?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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