Essay on Contrast Between Good and Evil in Billy Bud

Essay on Contrast Between Good and Evil in Billy Bud

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Contrast Between Good and Evil in Billy Bud

 

            Since the beginning of time, there has always been a

tenacious struggle between good and evil.  In a particular famous book, The

Bible, the continuous clash between good and evil remains evident

throughout the work.  In Herman Melville's novel, Billy Budd,  symbolism,

characterization, and irony are put to use to develop the dramatic contrast

between good and evil.

 

            Symbolism is used to directly contrast good and evil.  The

night before Billy's hanging,  "through the rose-tan of his complexion no

pallor could have shown."  Billy  portrays a very pure Christ-like

character before his demise.  His white garb, and natural glowing of light

makes his death seem symbolic for  good.  Claggort "who's brow was of the

sort phrenologically associated with more than average intellect"

symbolically manipulated Billy Budd as did the "wisdom of the serpent"

manipulate Adam.  Evil always tries to antagonize what is good.  Therefore,

Claggort was Billy's antagonist throughout Billy Budd.  Also symbolic to

the novel is the actual demise of both Claggort and Billy Budd.  Claggort's

death is very short and appropriate "to his navel grade."  In contrast,

Billy's death occurs during the dawn where "  Billy ascended; and ascending

took the full rose of the dawn."  Claggort's death completely contrasts

with the pure death of Billy Budd.  Billy's death is portrayed as good,

conquering, and symbolic, which directly ...


... middle of paper ...


...y 'got the last laugh'.

He is able to adulterate Billy's purity and innocence in such a way that

even the newspapers consider Billy as " the criminal [who] paid the penalty

for his crime"  In the end Claggort is portrayed as this martyr who is

killed by this evil, and bad person, Billy Budd.  This assumption is a

major mistake.

 

            To develop the dramatic contrast between good and evil in

the novel, Billy Budd, Herman Melville uses symbolism, characterization,

and irony.  Good and evil are a flip of a coin, and separated by a very

thin line.  The innocent martyr, Billy crossed this line once in the novel,

to cause his downfall.  After reading Billy Budd the reader ultimately

realizes good and evil with out a problem.

 

 

 

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