Billy Budd Chapters 12-14 Summary and Analysis

Herman Melville

Chapters 12-14 Summary and Analysis

New Character:
Squeak: one of Claggart’s “more cunning corporals,” a spy and henchman for Claggart

At the beginning of this chapter, Melville digresses a bit to note that there are certain criminal cases which seem to baffle the courts. The juries hear various legal and medical experts who disagree with one another, and the courts are thwarted in their search for separating falsity from truth. Melville suggests, “Why not subpoena as well the clerical proficients?” He argues that the clerics come into contact with human beings during their most unguarded moments, and that they, rather than the medical or legal professionals, are more likely to truly know...

(The entire section is 637 words.)