Herman Melville's "Billy Budd"
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This paper explains that the plot of Herman Melville's "Billy Budd" revolves around the central axis of the war between good and evil by using Biblical and mythical allusions. The author relates that, although Billy Budd seems to be the innocent character, from a religious point of view he becomes guilty after committing an involuntary crime. The paper concludes that the central message of the story is that natural innocence is to be preferred instead of moral truth.
From the Paper:"The character of Billy Budd is drafted on an opposition between the natural and the religious truth. He is at once portrayed as a noble savage, with a natural charm and a baffling innocence. Billy attracts everyone through his natural and pure character, but at the same time, he inspires some of the others with sinful feelings of either desire or envy. His shipmates and the captain also are irresistibly drawn towards Billy as to something incredibly pure and innocent. His beauty also emphasizes the idea that he represents natural perfection. He represents nature in its pristine form, untouched by the usual tinges of civilization. In shape, he seems to be descended from the "unadulterated blood of Ham", an ideal representation of nature and savageness, with an intensely black skin:"[He was] so intensely black that he must needs have been a native African of the unadulterated blood of Ham. A symmetric figure much above the average height."(Melville, 2) His shipmates swarm around him, attracted irresistibly by his natural virtue and sweetness: "Not that he preached to them or said or did anything in particular; but a virtue went out of him
Sample of Sources Used:
- Boudreau, Gordon V. Herman Melville, Immortality, St. Paul, and Resurrection: From Rose-Bud to Billy Budd. Christianity and Literature, Vol. 52, 2003.
- Gail Coffler. , Religion, Myth, and Meaning in the Art of Billy Budd, Sailor in Yannella, Donald. New Essays on Billy Budd. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
- Goldman, Eric. "Bringing out the Beast in Melville's Billy Budd: The Dialogue of Darwinian and 'Holy' Lexicons on Board the Bellipotent." Studies in the Novel 37.4 (Winter 2005): 430(13)
- Melville, Herman. Billy Budd, Sailor. New York: New American Library, 1961.
- Wenke, John. Melville's Indirection: Billy Budd, the Genetic Text, and "The Deadly Space Between in Yannella, Donald. New Essays on Billy Budd. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Cite this Book Review:
Herman Melville's "Billy Budd" (2008, August 15) Retrieved September 22, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/herman-melville-billy-budd-106861/
"Herman Melville's "Billy Budd"" 15 August 2008. Web. 22 September. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/herman-melville-billy-budd-106861/>