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Billy Budd

Billy Budd


by Herman Melville

Billy Budd Admiration Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #7

Loyal lieges, plain and practical, though at bottom they dissented from some points Captain Vere had put to them, they were without the faculty, hardly had the inclination, to gainsay one whom they felt to be an earnest man, one too not less their superior in mind than in naval rank. (21.39)

The narrator here explains why the members of the drumhead court fail to argue with Captain Vere. Namely, because they feel him to be "an earnest man," and because they recognize that he is "their superior in mind." Might such attitudes be called admiration? Is it possible to recognize that a person is earnest and not to admire them for it? How about recognizing that they're superior in mind?

Quote #8

Stooping over, he kissed on the fair cheek his fellow man, a felon in martial law, one whom though on the confines of death he felt he could never convert to a dogma; nor for all that did he fear for his future. (24.8)

What is it about Billy that inspires the chaplain's admiration? By eschewing (deliberately avoiding or refuting) dogma, is Billy an example of a man with a higher spiritual understanding or a lower one?

Quote #9

"God bless Captain Vere!" (25.2)

Here are Billy's last words before being hanged. Do you think that he utters these words out of admiration or out of pity? Does he utter them because he respects the decision that Captain Vere has made or because he realizes that Captain Vere is about to go half-mad with guilt?

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