English 3362 Mid Term

English 3362 Mid Term - Jonathan Rose English 3362-001...

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Jonathan Rose English 3362-001 Martha Warren Mid-Term Essays Group I: #4 Claggart is “down on” Billy Budd in Melville’s short story of the same name for a few possible reasons, but I believe the main reason is jealousy over Billy Budd’s youthful looks and the fact that the crew love Billy and hate him. There are also sexual undertones that suggest that Claggart has a paradoxical love and hate relationship with Billy, which causes him to hate him because he loves him. Billy undergoes agony and eventual death due to the fact that Claggart is “down on” him and conspires against Billy. Claggart is innately depraves in a way that know one else knows and the fact that his history is a mystery only adds to the mystique of a possibly tainted hidden past. Billy’s significant personal beauty moves Claggart and his envy and jealousy overwhelm him causing him to mess with Billy aboard the boat and eventually accuse Billy of mutiny. There is a disdain evident within Claggart that “assumed various secret forms within him,” that we only get a glimpse of in the story. The ambiguity becomes a little clearer in the recognition of Claggart’s face upon seeing Billy.
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