Billy Budd’s pain is felt through out the whole entire story. Herman Melville characterizes Billy Budd as an innocent man physically and mentally. The first feature sailors would notice about Billy was his schoolboy features, with blond hair and blue eyes. His sophisticated appearance caused some people to refer to him as “the handsome sailor”. Billy looks stood out, because most sailors were commonly known to have poor hygiene.
His looks didn’t help him as much and often the sailors belittled him. Billy’s first name is William, but the sailors felt he deserve a childish name, Billy, which was more appropriate. Commonly only young innocent boys were given names like Billy and William was thought to be someone within age. Billy was also young within mind and hasn’t ever really experienced a long sailor life. He spent brief time on the Rights of Man, after Billy is capture on to the Bellipotent, the sailors gladly introduce him to real life.
At this point Billy tries to adapt to this new environment, but is still unaware of what is going on. His first extreme experience is when he sees a fellow man being flogged. The punishment forced upon this man triggered something within Billy. Billy has never seen a man flogged. The pain inflicted towards the man he viewed, also brought pain to him mentally.
He wanted to know what crime did this man commit. He tried to do everything right, so that he may not have to ever experience this type of brutality. Unfortunately, Billy’s luck was lessening, because he was going against the ruthless Claggart. Billy accidentally spills his soup and Claggart exclaims with heavy sarcasm, “Handsomely done, my lad! And handsome is as handsome did it too! ” Billy fails to recognize the sarcastic remark, because he can’t understand why a person would try to hurt him.
Billy’s moral disposition allows him to keep sinful thoughts out of his head. The Dansker refer to Claggart as being a spider when he tells Billy that “Jimmy Legs ”on to him. The Dankser warns Billy that he has become entangled in the spider’s web, and Claggart will soon go in for the kill. His deceptiveness allows him to disguise his hatred for Billy from everyone aboard the Bellipotent. Claggart told Vere that Billy is putting on a charade about being the best sailor, only so that he can lead an attack against Vere.
Claggart obtains pleasure by giving Billy evil looks, while he pretends to be Billy’s comrade. After Claggart confronts Billy with the charges of mutiny. Billy soon feels very disturb and upset so he kills Claggart. Vere is told about this and desperately wants to believe the accusations are false, because of his past relationship with Billy. Vere doesn’t want to do so, because he fears that it may lead into Billy’s favor to prevent rebellious behavior from the crew. As much as it hurts Vere to sentence Billy to his death, he knows that Billy must pay for his wrongly accused crime.
Billy was sentence to be hanged while all crewmen watching. Although this was occurring, Billy still found it in his heart to send a blessing to Captain Vere. I believe he said this because he knew the predicament the Captain was being placed. Although this occurred, the Captain and Billy at that moment connected again in a way the sailors can never understand. The Captain felt Billy pain, but it became intense after Billy called out to the Captain and sent a blessing.