Chapters 10 & 11 Notes from Billy Budd

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Billy Budd Chapters 10 & 11

There is an incident the following day during lunch. While they are eating the ship lurches and Billy spills his soup just as Claggart walks by. Claggart muses that this was done 'handsomely.' Others do not think that Claggart dislikes Billy. It seems to them that this comment was a playful use of his nickname 'handsome sailor'. Billy believes this, even though the Dansker thinks otherwise.

Chapter 11

Billy wonders why the master-at-arms would hate him. The author interjects that it would be easy to invent some pre-story reason if the book were a romance:

"For what can more partake of the mysterious than an antipathy spontaneous and profound such as is evoked in certain exceptional mortals by the mere aspect of some other mortal, however harmless he may be, if not called forth by this very harmlessness itself?" Chapter 11, pg. 456

On the ship every man runs into every other man every day of the week. It is hard to avoid someone who annoys you. The nature of men is described as often having a natural depravity that is hidden inside respectability. This depravity is seen most often in well-adjusted men. The sanest men have certain moments of unexplained lunacy. Claggart is one of these men. Although he looks and seems normal, if not just a little odd, he has an undetectable predisposition towards limited insanity.

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