Billy Budd

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade May 2001

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Officer Seymour's role in Billy Bud was very significant. Seymour was able to observe two important people on this ship, Captain Vere and Billy Budd.

"What are you going to do sir? He's a valuable man one we can hardly do with out as things are now."(pg35) Seymour got to witness Captain Vere's decision making first hand. Seymour also knew about Billy's charming presence on the ship. "Aye, sir. Fine boy he's a force of order in this ship, certainly. I hope his charm is contagious".(pg50) The defense could have used Seymour a great deal. Seymour got to speak to Vere on many different occasions. The most important is when Captain Vere was trying to figure out what to do with Claggart. The defense could have taken attention away from Billy by showing how Vere earlier in the book had not punished Claggart, when he didnt send Jackson to sick bay.

This caused Jackson his life. The defense could have asked Seymour, "What was Captain Vere planning to do for punishment when he found out that Claggart did not send Jackson to sick bay?" Seymour would have told the defense what Vere said "I shall do nothing at present, only wait and observe him. No court-martial could do more than strip him of his rank for such misconduct. I will let him have his head until some acts puts him squarely counter to the law, then let the law consume him."(pg35) Seymour had enjoyed Billy while he was on the ship. In the Defense of Billy they could have asked "Officer Seymour how did you feel about Billy Budd?" Seymour would have answered the defense " You can't condemn the boy for answering with his arm for lack of words! The motive was clearly justified."(pg64) This quote shows that Seymour was trying to get the rest of the crew to understand that Billy had no intent for murder. Billy was only angry and couldn't find any other way to stop Claggart from badgering him.

Claggart provoked Billy. Seymour was sticking up for Billy and at the same time trying to protect his life.

I think that Officer Seymour should've been used by the defense.

Seymour saw that Vere didn't act as a captain when he was supposed to. If Vere had gotten rid of Claggart when he should've the innocent Billy Budd might not have lost his life.