Billy Budd

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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Discussing good and evil are very relevant. In a way good and evil are stuck together, because usually when there is good there is always evil. For example, when you read a story there is usually a hero and a villain. Good can be explained as a person who shows unstoppable love for life and a heart of pure virtue. To me a person who is good is one who is trustworthy like Billy Budd. Budd was very trustworthy in his works and towards others. A person of good also processes a truthfulness that is as strong as stone. Billy Budd also showed his truthfulness by not lying about his crime and getting hung on what he felt was right. Budd truly describes a person of goodness because of his love for life and his loyalty to others and to himself.

Evil is completely the opposite of good. Evil is committing sin towards others and also to yourself.

Claggart was a perfect example of evil. His high rank made him feel that he was higher than any of the sailors and that he had complete control which made him cold hearted. At the end I felt that Claggart deserved to die because he lied about many things that got people either hurt or killed. The words that came out of his mouth were of evil, disbelief, and greediness. Claggart never spoke of the truth and was evil both inside and out. So in a way his wickedness brought him his death.

2. I believe that Budd might have been able to save himself, but he knew what he had done was wrong and he had to face the consequences. He could have said at least something in his defense but he didn't say one thing at all except for, "God Bless Captain Vere!"� But I am pretty sure he wouldn't say anything because pure guilt would've fallen upon his heart for the rest of his life. At the end I acclaim Budd of his courage to pay the consequence of what he did and to also do it in such a mature manner. He didn't blame anyone for his death and he forgave Claggart for everything he did to him and his fellow sailors.

3. If I was the captain, I would not have "persuaded"� the court martial (?) to find Budd guilty. I would've done that because Budd was the type of person who deserves a second chance. Whenever he did something he always kept the feelings others had towards what he was doing. As for Claggart I believe he deserved to die for what he had done. But I understand how the captain had no choice and a consequence had to be made.

4. In the story there is the line that says, "We do not deal with justice, but the law."� This tells about justice and how it had been shown in Billy Budd. Justice is defined as the administration of law and the determination of rights according to the rules of the law and equity. In the story Budd commits a crime and by law suffers the consequence, which was death. This type of justice is found in our government in today's society.

For example the well known phrase, "Your innocent until proven guilty."� Criminals are convicted and sent to jail and possibly death. One example today of where the law is done the same is the case of Timothy McVeigh. He committed an evil act of blowing up the Oklahoma City federal building and killing thousands of people. At the end he was sentenced to death like Billy Budd was. Though he was not sorry for what he had done and died with evil in his eyes.