Billy Budd Questions and Answers
by Herman Melville

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After the hanging, Vere says, "With mankind . . . forms, measured forms, are everything . . . ." What do you think Vere is saying?

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For Captain Vere, order is everything. If the Indomitable is to achieve a successful voyage, good order among the crew must always prevail. And as Vere is captain of the ship, that onerous responsibility falls upon his shoulders. He loved Billy dearly, but when it comes to doing his duty as captain, Vere's feelings simply don't enter into the equation. If Captain Vere were to show lenience to Billy, then he'd be setting a very dangerous precedent indeed. Sailors throughout the British navy would see it as a green light to challenge authority, and that's not something that Vere, or any...

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