Hanging of Billy Budd

The hanging of Billy in Melville's Billy Budd was a questionable and complex decision made by Captain Vere. Captain Vere, or 'starry Vere,' chose to coincide with the law rather than spare Billy to make himself happy. The hanging of Billy was necessary for order to remain on the ship and for justice to prevail. Billy Budd, also known as the 'handsome sailor,' was on trial for killing the master-at-arms, Claggart. Everyone wished for Billy's life to be spared, but Captain Vere chose to follow the oath he pledged to the King.

Consequently, Billy was given the death penalty and hanged. Billy Budd's death was presided on very questionable cicumstances although he was liked by everyone, he was accused of mutiny abored ship, and the murder of the Master at arms Claggert. His death was looked st as a tragedy by all abored ship even Captain Vere who made the decision to hang Billy, but it was the only decision which could have been made to keep the ship and the shipsmen from rebelling and killing all those people of higher command Everyone on the ship enjoyed Billy's presence, except Claggart.

Haven't Found an Essay You Want? Get Your Custom Essay Sample
For Only $13.90/page
Place An Order

He was described to be a 'sweet, pleasant fellow' (pg. 5). Captain Vere liked Billy as much or more than the others, '? they all loved him! ' (pg. 6) Because of this, he wondered what the best choice was: save Billy, or hang him? The decision to hang Billy was, in retrospect, the right one. If Captain Vere chose not to hang Billy, no one would have learned from his mistakes-including Billy himself. Lack of punishment can lead to severe problems; Billy was so well liked by everyone, Captain Vere was in a very difficult situation.

It was very unlike Billy to ever do something so rash; he brought out the best in everyone. Captain Vere felt in his heart that Billy's actions were a mistake, but he could not be sure. The accusation Claggart made was mutiny, and mutiny was a serious crime. Vere had no proof that Billy was not guilty, so for the safety of himself and his crew, he sacrificed Billy's life. In his decision making, Vere reminded himself he was under the oath of the King, not human inclinations. If Vere had not done this Billy might have lived.

This was not, however, the real reason for changing his mind. The real reason was because others would have followed in Billy's alleged footsteps if he were not punished. Billy Budd's life was sacrificed for an unjust reason, and the circumstances surrounding his death were definitely questionable. However, Vere made the decision that he had to although it wasn't morally right for Captain Vere it was the only fair decision he could have made to hang him. The consequences of what might have happened if his life had been spared were far greater that those of grief for Billy's death.

Billy's death was truly necessary for things to remain in order on the ship, especially without crew members entertaining the idea of killing another or starting a mutiny. The hanging of Billy Budd shows the need for punishment to occur for justice to prevail, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the issue. Billy Budd's life was lost because Claggert did not like him, his accusition of Billy committing mutiny were to much for Billy to with stand. His inopportune time to loose his temper cost him his life.

He was falsely accused of all aqusations but when he struck claggert over the head and killed him he wrote his own death. His actions of mutiny could not be proven, but when he struck claggert and killed him his actions were proven and no longer could be ignored. No body liked Claggert and he forced Billy in to his aggressive actions, he never would have struck Claggert if he had not of lied about Billy and the Accusation of mutiny. Claggert was jelous of Billy and Wanted Billy killed, he got his wish but he also got what was coming to him by Billy killing him.

×
Sarah
Sarah online
CAN’T FIND YOUR TOPIC?
Let us write it for you!
START NOW