Billy Budd Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 68 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Billy Budd.
This section contains 947 words
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In the first eight chapters, the narrator attempts to sketch the histories of these men - first Billy Budd, then Captain Vere, then John Claggart. Billy is "impressed" (forced) into the British navy, then (1797) at war with the French. A lieutenant boards the merchant ship, the Rights-of-Man, that Billy has worked on for some time, and selects only him to bolster the crew of the Bellipotent, without any consideration of Billy's or the merchant captain's desires. Apparently Billy was selected because he has the charismatic qualities of what the narrator calls the "Handsome Sailor," a leader both physically and morally. Billy appears to be exceedingly simple, an "upright barbarian," but factual knowledge of him is limited to his status as an orphan. Of his family history only speculation is possible. Captain Vere, on the other hand, traces his ancestors well back into the seventeenth century...

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This section contains 947 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Billy Budd Study Guide
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Novels for Students
Billy Budd from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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