Like Charles Dickens, Herman Melville typifies his characters by the selection of evocative names. He chooses Billy Budd as a naive, childlike nickname for the standard English given name of William. Likewise, Budd, suggesting an emerging flower, underscores the notion of immaturity and innocence. His foil and nemesis, John Claggart, also bears a common English given name along with the harsh, cacophonous name that typifies his role as conniving perpetrator of evil and disturber of universal order. Rounding out the group of three major figures is Captain Vere, whose surname suggests two Latin words: verus, which means "true," and vir , which means "man." The conjunction of these two denotations creates a picture of a dependable, stalwart leader. Lesser characters also bear prophetic names. Squeak, the diminutive, ferret-like toady who sniffs out
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.