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Billy Budd: Sailor

Ratings:
169 pages1 hour

Summary

While 'Moby Dick' is Herman Melville’s best known book, 'Billy Budd, Sailor' is considered by many to be his greatest work.

Billy, a foundling from Bristol, has an innocence, good looks and a natural charisma that make him popular with the crew. His only physical defect is a stutter which grows worse when under intense emotion. He arouses the antagonism of the ship’s master-at-arms, John Claggart. Claggart, while not unattractive, seems somehow defective or abnormal next to Billy.

Despite Claggart’s animosity towards him, Billy saves Claggart’s life further infuriating the man. Claggart then accuses Billy of conspiring to mutiny. Billy, dumfounded by the accusation, becomes unable to defend himself against Claggart’s words because of his stuttering and in frustration strikes the lying Claggart with a blow so powerful that it kills the man instantly.

In the ensuing trial Melville explores good and evil, justices and mercy, right and wrong, and natural law verses man’s law.

A Masterpiece for the Ages!

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