Billy Budd, Sailor

Herman Melville


Study Questions & Essay Topics

Suggestions for Further Reading

1. When did Herman Melville complete Billy Budd?

2. What is Billy Budd’s nickname on the Bellipotent?

3. What is Billy’s nationality?

4. Why is Billy’s past mysterious?

5. What is Billy Budd’s disability?

6. To what stereotype does Billy conform?

7. On which ship does Billy work at the opening of the novel?

8. What is Billy’s position on the H.M.S. Bellipotent?

9. What is the name of the old sailor whom Billy consults from time to time?

10. What is Claggart’s position on the Bellipotent?

11. By what nickname do the crew of the Bellipotent refer to Claggart?

12. What does Billy spill in front of Claggart?

13. For what does the mysterious afterguardsman try to recruit Billy?

14. What crime does Claggart accuse Billy of committing?

15. How does Billy respond to Claggart’s accusation?

16. What does Claggart do a few moments after accusing Billy to his face?

17. What is Captain Vere’s nickname?

18. How does Captain Vere decide to respond to the killing of Claggart?

19. What is Billy Budd formally accused of before the court?

20. What is the court’s sentence on Billy Budd?

21. What is Billy’s reaction to his sentence?

22. Who visits Billy on the eve of his execution?

23. When is Billy Budd hung?

24. What are Billy Budd’s last words?

25. Who writes the poem “Billy in the Darbies”?

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