Billy Budd Chapters 23-24 Questions and Answers

Herman Melville

Chapters 23-24 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why can we assume that Captain Vere tells the complete truth to Billy Budd during their private interview?

2. What can we imagine of Billy’s reaction?

3. What can be surmised about Vere’s feelings for Billy?

4. Why does Captain Vere refrain from mentioning the word “mutiny” when he addresses the crew?

5. Why is Captain Vere concerned at this time for strict adherence to custom?

6. Why does Vere discontinue all communication with Billy?

7. Why does Vere prefer that the men not even surmise that something is amiss?

8. How do the officers behave on a military ship when they are concerned that something might be “amiss”?

9. How is Billy safeguarded while waiting for the sentence to be carried out?

10. Who is permitted access to the cabin where Billy is held?

Answers
1. That Captain Vere is an honorable and honest man has already been established by Melville’s descriptions.

2. Billy would be joyful at being considered brave enough to hear all of the truth.

3. Vere apparently has fatherly feelings for Billy.

4. Vere doesn’t want to arouse the crew by suggesting that he has concerns about mutiny.

5. By behaving as is customary, the crew will not find anything amiss.

6. It is the appropriate thing to do at this time.

7. If the crew surmises that something is amiss, that fact alone might actually foment trouble.

8. The officers “keep that apprehension to themselves.”

9. Billy is held in a cabin guarded by a sentry.

10. Only the chaplain is permitted to have access to Billy.