Paper on Billy Bud - Lindsay Lastinger AP English Language...

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Lindsay Lastinger AP English Language January 2, 2010 Billy Budd-In Class The Theme of Corrupted Innocence “Billy Budd”, written by Herman Melville clearly displays the theme of corrupted innocence. Billy is a man who embodies natural pureness—yet his natural pureness is harshly challenged by the end of story as he is placed on trial for the killing of Claggart, the direct opposite of Billy in that he is consumed by evil. The events that take place throughout this story are Melville’s effort to pose one central, thematic question: Is Billy’s innocence only temporarily corrupted by the evil doings of Claggart, or was Billy naturally pure to begin with? The answer to this question lies with the reader, but most obviously leans towards the fact that Billy’s innocence was only temporarily corrupted, and that his execution was a harsh and unfair punishment. Throughout the story Billy Budd is depicted as a purely innocent man. Before the death of Claggart, Billy’s impressive appearance and his purely innocent habits give him a sense of superiority over the other sailors, as he is described as “The Handsome Sailor”. Essentially, even
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Paper on Billy Bud - Lindsay Lastinger AP English Language...

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