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. Why does the captain ask Claggart to confront Billy?

2. Whom do the officers want to contact?

3. Where is Billy confined in chapter 24?

4. What is unusual about Billy's death?

5. What concerns the officers in chapter 20?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What is unusual about Billy's death?

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

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

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

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

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

10. Describe Claggart's funeral.

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

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

How does literature affect Captain Vere's character? How does the genre of Captain Vere's literary preference affect his relationship with his officers and crew? How do the ideals presented in Captain Vere's favored literature affect his command style and decision making process?

(see the answer keys)

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