Essay on Biblical Allegories in Billy Budd

Essay on Biblical Allegories in Billy Budd

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Biblical Allegories in Billy Budd


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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