Billy Budd Chapter 2 Questions and Answers

Herman Melville

Chapter 2 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How is Billy received by his new crew mates aboard the Indomitable?

2. What is the mystery concerning Billy’s birth and origins?

3. How is Billy like Adam before the Fall?

4. What is Billy’s one blemish?

5. How do Melville’s references to Adam and the Serpent relate to the theme of conflict between Good and Evil?

6. What is the reaction of the “more intelligent gentlemen of the quarter-deck” to Billy’s good looks?

7. To what classical hero does Melville compare Billy Budd?

8. What is the state of Billy’s mental faculties?

9. How is Billy similar to other sailors?

10. How does Melville demonstrate that Billy Budd is not a “conventional” hero?

Answers
1. Billy is well-received by his new crew mates, and he has a favorable effect upon them.

2. Billy has a noble bearing, despite his humble condition; he explains that he is a foundling and doesn’t know his own origins.

3. Like Adam, Billy is pristinely innocent and guileless.

4. In periods of emotional stress, Billy stutters.

5. The Bible story of Adam and his temptation is the prototype in Western civilization for the theme of conflict between Good and Evil.

6. These gentlemen greatly admire Billy for being a fine example of a pure Saxon strain of Englishman.

7. Melville compares Billy to the legendary Greek hero Hercules.

8. Despite being illiterate, Billy obviously is intelligent.

9. According to Melville, most sailors have simple, open natures.

10. Billy is not a conventional hero because of his simple innocence and naivete.