Study Guide

Billy Budd Chapter 6

By Herman Melville

Chapter 6

  • Now, despite the fact that Melville just spent three chapters telling us about how tense things are after the mutiny, everybody's pretty calm and chilled out on Billy's ship.
  • Here, we're introduced to the Captain of the ship, Edward Fairfax Vere. He's a forty-year-old bachelor, and a very well respected man, and is known to be mindful of the men on board his ship.
  • On top of all this, Vere is also a totally nice, modest, and down to earth guy. Occasionally, he's a bit dreamy, standing at the prow of the ship and gazing out at the stars and such, but in general he's got it together and everybody likes him.
  • He does have this nickname, though, which is "Starry Vere" (6.4). It comes from a buddy of his, Lord Denton, who pulled it from a poem by Andrew Marvell, and ever since the name has stuck.