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Billy Budd Essay

In Henry Melville s novel Billy Budd, the protagonist, Billy Budd, is a young impressed sailor aboard an English Battleship. Billy shows his actions toward a Christ Figure through his innocence and ignorance, which he shows while interacting with Claggart, the ships Master of Arms. Billy shows this Christ figure in his innocence towards Claggart, by not knowing why Claggart treats the crew so bad, and why there is a side to him that enjoys this cruel punishment. Billy talking to Claggart says “No man can take pleasure in cruelty”. Billy shows his innocence by how he can not judge how anyone would thrive we they are loathed by so many others as Claggart does.

Billy also shows a resemblance to a Christ figure, by his ignorance of what goes around him. Does he ponder why so many people abominate Claggart? Billy can t understand the meaning behind Claggart, so Billy has no problem with Claggart. Claggart abruptly says to Billy ” Is it ignorance or irony”. Claggart can t understand why Billy is trying to befriend him, even though Claggart is despised by all the crew. These actions of innocence and ignorance show Billy as a Christ Figure because he tries to befriend Claggart. He can t detect the malice and deceit inside the pernicious heart of Claggart, which all of his friends and shipmates can obviously see, by the way, he treats others. Which Billy can not because of his innocence and ignorance, in which he can not look past skin deep, in the way he judges people. This is why Billy depicts a Christ Figure, he loves everyone even though they are malice.

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Billy Budd Essay. (2021, Apr 04). Retrieved June 24, 2022, from