Billy Budd

what are the biblical imagery in billy budd?

make a list of biblical imagery in billy budd

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One of the first allusions of Billy Budd is that of Saul and David. Saul relates to Claggart as David relates to Billy. In the Bible Saul is the first king of Israel and David is basically one of his servants. However, Saul is jealous of David for his success in everything he does. This allusion relates to the story in terms of how jealous Claggart is of Billy even though Claggart is in higher rank than Billy. Claggart is so jealous he even makes false accusations about Billy being part of a mutiny (41).

Another allusion is that of Jacob, Joseph, and Jacob's sons and Joseph's brothers. Joseph in part relates to Captain Vere, Billy to Jacob, and Claggart to Jacob's sons and Joseph's brothers. The biblical version is that Jacob's brothers are extremely jealous of Jacob because he is so much liked by their father. The brothers in turn try to kill Joseph yet do not succeed. However they then sell him into slavery and tell their father, Joseph was killed. Jacob can not believe his son is dead and is highly awe-struck. This in turn relates to Billy Budd when Claggart accuses Billy of being part of a mutiny to Captain Vere. Captain Vere is highly distraught at his accusation just like Jacob is stunned of his son's supossed death (59).

One of the last allusions of the novelette is that of Abraham and Isaac. In book terms Abraham relates to Captain Vere and Isaac to Billy. In the Bible Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice Isaac to show how loyal he is to God. Abraham then goes to sacrifice Isaac but is stopped by God and basically pardons Isaac's life. This allusion relates to the story when Billy is tried for striking an officer, who is of course Claggart. The drum-head court tries to get Captain Vere to lighten Billy's sentence but because Captain Vere is so loyal to the law (77-78).