Part 2, Chapters 15 & 16 Notes from Billy Budd

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Billy Budd Part 2, Chapters 15 & 16

Billy is puzzled by the events of the night before. He knows what position the man holds on the ship. He is not sure where the man got the guineas. He cannot stop thinking about the event and the next day he looks for the man. He finds someone who looks right but seems too fat. The man looks over to him and nods with a smile. At a loss, he gives a partial account of the event to the Dansker. He thinks that the man is a cat's paw from Claggart who is still after him. The old man, described as Merlin, watches Billy's reaction to this and gives no advice. The Dansker never gives definitive advice to Billy, he only makes descriptive comments.

Chapter 16

Billy is ready to blame the strange event on anyone except Claggart, who is always so nice to him. He is very naive in this sense. He thinks that sailors are frank, honest, and straightforward. He cannot imagine one of them being deceptive. This is the way it is asserted sailors should be: simple and obedient. The author digresses on the purity of this era of soldiers. These simple men are described as being honest and pure in a way that is unattainable by someone who is educated. Although they may have faults, these faults are blamed on innocence rather than an evil nature.

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