Billy Budd


how is irony shown in this novel

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Our first impression of Billy Budd is that of a friendly, honest, handsome and naive young man; that impression isn't a lasting one. Before long, we see a character that we believe to be naive responsible for another character. That the character, Claggart, has been spreading lies about him is of course true, but Billy Budd in the heat of anger murders the man........... Ironic, the big, bad man ends up being the one who's pitied here.

The second bit of irony comes in the form of Captain Vere, our reasonable, well liked, and reputed to be fair, commander of the ship. Ironically, when it comes to Billy, he suddenly changes. He knows Billy's innocent of the crime, and yet he allows him to take the blame anyway. Our seemingly honest and fair minded captain is anything but............ he condemns him.

Lastly, we have the monument erected at the place of Billy's execution........ please............ martyrdom?

All in all, I find this a very strange story, definitely not my favorite of Melville's works. I even rented the DVD once thinking that possibly I might catch something I'd missed in the novel.......... I didn't.


Billy Budd