On Billyís side it is not improbable that such a confession would have been received in much the same spirit that prompted it.Not without a sort of joy indeed he might have appreciated the brave opinion of him implied in his Captainís making such a confidant of him.Billy is so flabbergasted that he is unable to speak and when the Captain prompts him to defend himself, Budd lashes out at Claggart and kills him with one punch.
Then David Sandberg got me to read Bartleby the Scrivener (see review, Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street (1853)(Grade: A) and, once again, I was impressed.
So I figured it was time to go back and read Billy Budd again, I don't think I'd read it since High School.
He weighs in, as I think is proper, on Captain Vere's side and says that the maintenance of discipline required harsh measures and Vere should not be judged by modern standards.
Next there is the argument over whether the tale is mainly concerned with Capital Punishment and if so, whether it is intended to be a polemic in opposition to the practice.
I still remember the trepidation with which I picked up Moby Dick for the first time after someone warned me that there was one paragraph that went on for three pages.
For any reader, let alone a kid, that is a daunting prospect.But I persevered and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it.That pleasure has only grown with rereadings and my appreciation has deepened as I figured out some of the symbolism of the story.But in some supposed cases, in various degrees supposedly less pronounced, to draw the exact line of demarkation few will undertake thoí for a fee some professional experts will.There is nothing namable but that some men will undertake to do it for pay.This provokes the jealousy of John Claggart, one of the ship's officers.Billy rebuffs some shipmates who are discussing mutiny (the story occurs at the time of the Great Mutiny in the British Navy), but Claggart takes advantage of the air of unrest and denounces Budd to Captain Vere.Now, I was surprised at the disagreement that Bartleby still provokes among critics, but I had no idea that Billy Budd was one of the hot beds of contention in literary criticism. Billy Budd is an impressed seaman serving aboard the British ship Indomitable in 1797.He is a young man of such sweet naïveté, gentle disposition, great good humor and surpassing physical beauty that he is extremely well liked, even adored.There is privacy at the time, inviolable to the survivor, and holy oblivion, the sequel to each diviner magnanimity, providentially covers all at last.I don't know about you, but start with a naval vessel, shut the stateroom door with two men inside and start throwing around words like latent, passion, primeval, embrace and sacrament and I've gotta think there's a pretty good chance we're talking "love that dare not speak its name." Of course, there is another important theme here and that is Billy as a kind of Christ figure, even up to and including the obligatory crucifix scene as Billy is hung from the yardarm.