Billy Budd Essay

Billy Budd Essay-85
There is privacy at the time, inviolable to the survivor, and holy oblivion, the sequel to each diviner magnanimity, providentially covers all at last.

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For any reader, let alone a kid, that is a daunting prospect.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.It seems fairly obvious that there is at least a subtext of homoeroticism to the story.But, in addition, I don't see how you can explain away the startling "closed interview" between Budd and the Captain, just before Billy is executed: Beyond the communication of the sentence, what took place at this interview was never known.When Moby resurfaces after killing Ahab, the Captain's corpse has become entangled in the old harpoons & lines stuckk in the whale's flank and Ishmael sees him dangling there.I have no idea what it means that Billy, an innocent, and Ahab, the very embodiment of obsession, should both end the same.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.Given the climate in the fleet, Vere determines to make an example of Billy, so he is tried, convicted and hanged.But in view of the character of the twain briefly closeted in that state room, each radically sharing in the rarer qualities of nature--so rare indeed as to be incredible to average minds however much cultivated--some conjecture may be ventured.It would have been in consonance with the spirit of Captain Vere should he on this occasion have concealed nothing from the condemned one--should he indeed have frankly disclosed to him the part he himself had played in bringing about the decision, at the same time revealing his actuating motives.

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