Billy Budd, sparse at is, is a story packed full of double meaning and nuance. The narrator constantly claims that he is giving a completely accurate portrayal of events. He also tells us that Billy himself is incapable of falsehood. From the reader's vantage point, however, such claims to honesty only make one more attuned as to where the little lies and falsehoods slip into the text. In the novel, truth operates not only at the level of characters and events, but also at the level of narration, which makes the story extremely complex.
As Billy is depicted, he is neither an honest nor a dishonest character. Truth and falsity do not exist for him as ideas because he is always sincere; he thinks that everything he says is true.
By constantly admitting to what he does not know, the narrator attempts to create the illusion that he is being totally honest with the reader. Yet, because he picks the times when he makes these admissions, it actually makes it even harder to tell when he is giving a true portrayal of events.