Essay The Supreme Good : Ruler Over Morals

Essay The Supreme Good : Ruler Over Morals

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Supreme Good: Ruler over Morals
Melville an American writer, is best known for his most popular novel Moby Dick, though in this novel, it does not broach the important topics which some of his novellas do. For example, Billy Budd, Sailor, a classic novella has become world renowned for its amazing portrayal of innocence and good against evil. In Melville’s novella, a young innocent sailor named Billy Budd aboard a British naval warship named the H.M.S. Bellipotent. Billy shorty after boarding H.M.S. Bellipotent accidently spilled soup in Claggart’s path who interprets this as proofs Billy’s secret hostilities towards him. Claggart continues to use this incident as a justification of his hatred towards Billy. Claggart finally gets his revenge by informing Captain the Honorable Edward Fairfax Vere, also known as just Captain Vere, of a false munity conspiracy with the ring leader being Billy. Billy being unable to verbally able to defend himself because of his speech impediment lashes out at Claggart and striking him of the forehead thus killing him. Captain Vere being the only witness of these events has an impromptu trial again Billy on the murder of Claggart and conspiracy of munity. After much heated deliberation Captain Vere declares that they must follow the rule of the law thus leading to the jury finding Billy guilty of munity and murder. Billy is subsequently hanged with his last words being “God bless Captain Vere!” (Beginning of Chapter 25). On the voyage home Captain Vere is wounded eventually dying in a Gibraltar hospital with his last words being “Billy, Billy”. The story of Billy is later retold with a new twist recorded in a newspaper article stating Billy as the murder of an innocent Claggart. The sailors treat ...


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...im to rule over both by being truly good. The lack of understanding of good or evil forces them to be locked into one or the other.
While both good and bad coexist in Bill Budd, Sailor, this could only be accomplished by an individual ruling over them. Captain Vere has been able, due to his learning, make true sacrifices in order to maintain the balance of good and evil. Billy and Claggart are locked into their individual natures because they do not understand the others morals. Both have flaws that lead to their demise, with only Captain Vere being the deciding factor on which side to take. True verity is a characteristic all men try to obtain, but few understand. In part because one is either born evil such as Claggart or have a limited understanding of evil such as Billy. True good is above all other morals and as such has the authority to be the final judge.

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