Billy Budd Chapters 4-5 Summary and Analysis

Herman Melville

Chapters 4-5 Summary and Analysis

New Character:
Lord Horatio Nelson: A great naval hero, immortalized by the poet Alfred Tennyson as “the greatest sailor since the world began”

Summary
Digressing in Chapter 4, Melville speaks about the invention of gunpowder and the revolution in warfare this development has brought about. He regrets the fact that firearms make possible the ability to kill at a distance. Melville regards this distancing as a cowardly way to fight. Previously, warfare at sea had been largely “crossing steel with steel.”

Nevertheless, despite the use of firearms, there is one Great Sailor, Lord Nelson, who still exhibits the traits of bravery and poise in battle. Melville praises Nelson for...

(The entire section is 518 words.)