Table of Contents Plot Overview The setting is the last decade of the eighteenth century. The British naval warship H. Bellipotent impresses, or involuntarily recruits, the young sailor Billy Budd, extracting him from duty aboard the Rights-of-Man, a merchant ship. Billy packs up his gear without so much as a protest and follows the boarding officer of the Bellipotent, Lieutenant Ratcliffe, across the gangway to his new assignment.
While working on board the merchant ship Rights-of-Man, Billy is impressed into naval duty as a foretopman a sailor who sits atop the foremast or above on board the warship H. He has several shortcomings, however, including an inability to perceive ill will in other people.
He also has an unpredictable tendency to stutter, and at certain crucial moments he is rendered completely speechless. Read an in-depth analysis of Billy Budd. A bachelor of aristocratic lineage, the forty-year-old Vere has made his mark as a distinguished sailor.
Vere remains somewhat aloof and diffident among his peers, though he is not haughty. His brow bespeaks cleverness, and his black hair contrasts starkly with his pallid complexion.
Because of his pale face, he stays out of the sun as much as possible. It is known that after entering the navy unusually late in life, Claggart rose through the ranks to attain his present position on the strength of his sobriety, deference to authority, and patriotism.
However, his compliant exterior disguises a cruel and sinister streak, which the narrator explains is actually a natural tendency toward evil and depravity. A wizened old sailor with beady eyes, the Dansker listens and occasionally issues inscrutable, oracular responses when Billy seeks out his confidence.
At other times, however, the Dansker is decidedly reticent and unhelpful. When the chaplain realizes that Billy is already peacefully resigned to his death, and that his spiritual direction cannot do anything more for Billy, he leaves, kissing Billy gently on the cheek as he goes.
Trusted by the captain, Albert is sent to summon Billy to the cabin on the day Claggart accuses him. Lieutenant Ratcliffe selects only Billy from the company of the Rights-of-Man for impressment, or involuntary recruitment into naval service. At fifty, the slightly overweight Captain Graveling is a benign, conscientious shipmaster who is sorry to lose Billy Budd to the Bellipotent.Captain Veré as Outsider and Insider: Military Leadership in Billy Budd, Sailor E VER SINCE , Captain Edward Vere, Budd responds to Claggart's calling for Budd's execution, he fails to realize that the only source of disaffection.
Billy Budd has a distinct plot, and, for the most part, a very simple one in view of the complexity of the moral concerns of the author.
The action of the novel occurs primarily between Billy and Captain Vere, both of whom are symbolic characters. The timeline below shows where the character Captain Vere appears in Billy Budd. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Yet there's a different way of looking at Vere's decision-making power. It's easy to make it seem like Vere has one big decision to make: to kill Billy Budd or not to kill Billy Budd. In reality, though, Vere has made a large number of small decisions that have now left him in a position where he can't but have Billy executed.
For example, Vere decided to have both Billy and Claggart come to his cabin, to put them .
Get everything you need to know about Captain Vere in Billy Budd. Analysis, related quotes, timeline. The valiant, intellectual captain of the Indomitable, a bachelor of about 40 years of age.
Right after his execution. Public execution and hanging, which are integral to Captain Vere's arguments for the necessity of killing Billy Budd, played a complex role in the debates of the last third of the nineteenth century.