Chapter 1 Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
The Handsome Sailor: a prototype of the morally good man, whose inner goodness is manifested by recognizable grace and charm

Billy Budd: a young seaman, an example of a Handsome Sailor

Lieutenant Radcliffe: boarding officer from the naval ship the Indomitable

Captain Graveling: shipmaster of the merchant vessel Rights-of-Man

Summary
Melville describes the Handsome Sailor, a superior figure with both moral and physical strength and beauty. He digresses to describe an encounter with a common seaman who typifies the Handsome Sailor. This seaman is an African, who is clearly the leader and the center of attention as he...

(The entire section is 791 words.)