Herman Melville's Billy Budd is a novel with many biblical allegories ranging from subtle references to quite obvious similarities between characters and Biblical figures.
One of the most prevalent and accepted similarities is that of "Billy as Adam" (Berthoff, Certain 33) around the time of the Fall, "The ground common to most discussion of Billy Budd is the assumption that the story is allegorical ... a reenactment of the Fall" (Berthoff, Certain 32). The Fall refers to "the Christian myth, that is, of the fall from innocence and the promise of redemption" (Berthoff, Certain 33). "Billy is described as being similar to Adam before the Fall" (Reich173). Billy is connected to Adam mainly in that they both experience a fall from innocence; Billy's innocence is lost when he kills Claggart as Adam's is when he bites the apple.
Through ought the novel, Billy is "loving, innocent, and never maliciously harmful" (Burris 1), as Adam is obedient to God in the early part of the Bible. They both maintain their innocence through mos...
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- Comparing Christ to Billy of Billy Budd "I stand for the heart. To the dogs with the head!" wrote Herman Melville in his June 1851 letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne (Davis and Gilman 3). Yet, by the time he began writing Billy Budd, Sailor in 1888, Melville must have tempered this view, for Billy Budd depicts the inevitable destruction of a man who is all heart but who utterly lacks insight. Melville no doubt intends for his reader to connect this tale with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Billy Budd endures a persecution similar to Christ's; he is executed for like reasons, and he eventually ascends, taking "the full rose of the dawn" (BB 376).... [tags: Billy Budd Essays]
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- New Historicism is heavily indebted to deconstruction. One of the most brilliant readings of Billy Budd along these lines is Brook Thomas's reading in Cross Examination of Law and Literature. As its name implies, New Historicism combines an analysis of literary works with whatever historical backdrop is deemed relevant or important to our understanding. The "new" in this historicism has to do, among other things, with the recognition that history (or reality) is itself a kind of construct (or fiction, if you will, in the sense of something made rather than merely stumbled upon by humanity).... [tags: Billy Budd Essays]
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- Billy Budd as Christ In this novel, Billy Budd, Melville acts as a "Creator", in that he gives Billy Budd certain superhuman qualities, which allows him to posses the traits of a servant of God. Billy Budd appears Christ-like, because of his peace-making abilities. Although, he is a peacemaker whom will fight for what he believes in and to keep peace. In the beginning of the novel, when Red Whiskers gives Billy Budd problems, he strikes him with a powerful blow and does not have any more problems with him or the crew again.... [tags: Billy Budd Essays]
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- Captian Vere's reactions to Billy Budd in Billy Budd When Captain Vere says “Struck dead by an angel of God. Yet the angel must hang!” his attitude towards Billy Budd changes from one of paternal concern and personal respect to one in which he has set aside his personal thoughts and feelings for the sake of his nation. Each sentence represents this dichotomy by indicating his sentiment towards Billy. In the first, Billy is “an angel of God” who has “struck” Claggart dead, in a righteous manner.... [tags: Vere Billy Budd Essays]
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- The Dilemma of Billy Budd Herman Mellville's Billy Budd is and extremely divisive novel when one considers the dissension it has generated. The criticism has essentially focused around the argument of acceptance vs. resistance. On the one hand we can read the story as accepting the hanging of Billy Budd as the necessary ends of justice. We can read Vere's condemnation as a necessary military action performed in the name of preserving order aboard the Indomitable. On the other hand, we can argue that Billy's execution as the greatest example of injustice.... [tags: Billy Budd Essays]
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- Comparing Billy and Christ in Billy Budd Herman Melville's Billy Budd provides us with a summation and conclusive commentary on the ambiguities of moral righteousness and social necessity. The conflict that arises pitting natural justice in opposition to military justice essentially deliberates over whether the sacrifice of the individual is required for the continuum and conservation of social order. The deep allegorical theme of the passion of Christ that resides in Billy Budd illustrates Melville's adjudication on this issue.... [tags: Billy Budd Essays]
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- Reader Reaction to Billy Budd I approached Melville's Billy Budd with a mixture of trepidation and determination. I read the Introduction first, because I thought its purpose was to introduce the author, and place the selected stories in context and I thought this would be an aid to understanding. I was correct, but too correct, because Joyce Carol Oates, without warning of the spoiler, casually references Billy's death. I think this knowledge influenced my reading, because I was aware of the ultimate outcome, I read with the purpose of understanding why that came to be.... [tags: Billy Budd Essays]
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- Billy Budd is a story filled with irony. This literary aspect can be seen through the plot and characters of the work. As defined in The American Heritage Dictionary, irony is the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning. After a casual reading of the story' the many ironic aspects may have been igonred, but after analyzing the story it becomes obvious that they are of great importance. "...The fate of each character is the direct reverse of what one is led to expect from his nature" (Johnson, 185).... [tags: Billy Budd Essays]
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