Billy Budd (play)

Essay by giggles786College, Undergraduate November 2004

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There is much to be said about innocence. If one is with

innocence than one can do no wrong. But that is not all to be said.

Innocence is not always a good thing. It could make one naive or blind

to certain evils. Like in the case of Billy Budd. Billy was innocent

from evil and therefore could not see the evil of John Claggart

approaching him, out to destroy him. It is known Billy's innocence was

his down fall by hiding the true evil from his eyes. But why was John

Claggart out to destroy Billy?. There are several reasons why John

Claggart attempts to destroy Billy Budd.

John Claggart wants to destroy Billy because he is extremely wary

of Billy's intentions. He has come to believe that Billy is planning a

mutiny and wants to take over the ship. Claggart reports this to

captain Vere saying," During today's chase and possible encounter I

had seen enough to convince him that at least one sailor aboard was

dangerous." Meaning that he felt Billy was against them. Claggart felt

that Billy's big plan was to get in favor of all the men on the ship

and then turn them against the captain. Captain Vere responds by

having Billy and Claggart meet in private where Claggart can openly

accuse Billy of this crime. Fortunately, Claggarts attempt to destroy

Billy for mutiny fails because he is struck down by Billy in one blow,

ending the matter, but opening a much more serious one.

Claggart is also seen as attempting to destroy Billy due to his

evil nature in general. Nothing depicts Claggart's evil nature better

than the way he looks. His cleanly chiseled chin and cunning violet

eyes that can cut lesser sailors with an evil glare. His pale...