Teacher Guide

Billy Budd Lesson Plan

Relationship to Other Books

Billy Budd, Sailor continues themes and features found in Melville's best-known works. His fascination with nautical life was well-established in Moby-Dick. Like Billy Budd, Moby-Dick is digressive and filled with allusions, as the narrator Ishmael relates the sailors' actions to philosophical, political, and theological concerns. Melville's novella Benito Cereno also uses a naval trial as a stage to explore philosophical quandaries. The main character of Melville's short story "Bartelby, the Scrivener" is a forerunner to Billy Budd, a man whose motivations are unclear, much to the narrator's confusion.

Although based on a book chronicling the real 1789 mutiny against Lieutenant William...

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