Read the story of Billy Budd by, Herman Melville; then, answer all of the questions listed below:
- Billy never intended to kill Claggart. Is it fair to hold people responsible for the unforeseen consequences of their acts? Explain why or why not.
- Write a short defense of Captain Vere’s decision to argue for Billy’s conviction. Next, write a critique of the decision. Which do you find more convincing and why?
- Do you agree with Captain Vere the news of Billy’s acquittal could undermine military discipline throughout the British navy? Explain why or why not.
- Wouldn’t other British sailors understand that Billy Budd’s was an exceptional case? Explain why or why not.
- Vere distinguishes between military duty and moral duty. Should the later always take priority? Explain why or why not.