Billy budd plot summary. Billy Budd Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis from LitCharts 2019-01-06

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The Synopsis of Billy Budd: Opera by Benjamin Britten

billy budd plot summary

His innocence and naïveté seem to be wholly unsuited to this malevolent world. The narrator thinks that perhaps Claggart is just naturally depraved given to bad or evil actions , that perhaps he's slightly mad and directs it straight at Billy. Claggart picks up his conversation with Captain Vere and tells him that he believes Billy Budd is going to cause a mutiny. The editors of Letters from a Life further suggest that Britten was stung by a review by who compared the scene with Gilbert and Sullivan's. Billy and the Captain try to revive Claggart, but he is definitely lifeless. Once again, Billy begins to stammer in rage.

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Billy Budd: Characters & Summary

billy budd plot summary

His commitment to his values leads to the death of Billy Budd. Billy is not suspicious as he strolls to Vere's cabin. Billy disregards what the Dansker has told him about Claggart, even though the master-at-arms acts weird around him sometimes. He admires Billy greatly and had even thought of promoting him so that they could work more closely together. Squeak One of Claggart's spies aboardship. When Vere is the sole witness in an incident between Claggart and Budd, Vere, with the help of his officers, has to decide what is just, what is the best for the Avenger and what is best for the British Admiralty, especially in this time of war. The Dansker, meanwhile, sees all of this as part of Claggart's hatred of Billy, suggesting that Claggart is behind the whole thing as an effort to entrap Billy.

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Billy Budd Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis from LitCharts

billy budd plot summary

A 2010 production by the marked the operatic directorial debut of the theatre director. Billy is aghast at this. The one problem, though, is that he keeps getting in trouble for stupid little things like not putting away his hammock properly. Captain Vere is inclined not to believe Claggart, as he admires Billy's good behavior and handsome demeanor. When Billy finds out from the veteran sailor that Claggart doesn't like him, he doesn't believe it.

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Billy Budd: Characters & Summary

billy budd plot summary

The gossip is hyped even more by the fact that the rumor is that the English fleet is so pressed for men that they've even been pulling men out of prisons and making sailors of them. Avenger is headed into battle against the French fleet during the Napoleonic Wars, and the dark shadow of two recent mutinies in the English fleet concern Captain Vere Sir Peter Ustinov. However, when alone, Claggart reveals his hatred for Billy and vows to destroy him. At this moment, Claggart approaches him and begins to allude to some problems among the crew. The court doesn't quite agree with him, but none of the men feel adequate to debate him because he is so much more eloquent than they are. Unjust as the situation is, Billy is going to hang.

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Billy Budd Summary

billy budd plot summary

Billy is stunned by the accusation and when pressured to talk, he punches Claggart in the forehead. Other lieutenants and the marine captain share his amazement and dismay. Because jealousy is such a petty and embarrassing sin, he has to try to hide it by imagining greater animosity between them. He is very sorry that he is dead, but never meant to kill the man. Billy's replacement on board the Bellipotent pays tribute to him with a poem. The chaplain kisses him on the cheek. The sailor offered Billy what looked like gold coins.

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Billy Budd Summary

billy budd plot summary

Captain Vere and the others believe Billy, who is taken away from the room so that the court can reach its verdict. It is the tale of a noble young man who falls victim to petty jealousy and pays the price with his life. Although an official report stated that Billy stabbed Claggart after he was rightly accused, the truth of his execution lived on in a ballad sung by sailors all over the world. He has only recently entered into the service of the British naval forces. It's just that he is extremely good-natured and simple and can't help but let his enthusiasm spill over the bounds of military propriety. Billy seems to be practically perfect, but he does have one weakness.

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Billy Budd Notes

billy budd plot summary

In 1960 Britten revised the score substantially in preparation for a broadcast, and compressed it into two acts. He asks Billy for help and offers him two guineas. He is primarily responsible for watching over the men. For this reason, Claggart takes Billy spilling his soup as a sign of disrespect, and he begins to employ an underling, Squeak, to report to him on Billy's doings. Suddenly a French frigate is spotted and all the crew rush to their action stations, but then the wind drops and the frigate escapes into the mists. During a tense period of deliberation, Vere hovers over the jury. He is an industrious and talented sailor with a promising career ahead of him.

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The Synopsis of Billy Budd: Opera by Benjamin Britten

billy budd plot summary

Claggart falls to the ground dead. Billy is still unable to speak, but Claggart takes his side and sends Squeak to the brig. The next day, he saw the man from that night and was able to recognize him in the light of day as an after-guardsman. Vere is distressed, and the two of them prop the body upright. He works in the topsails and makes fast friends with his companions and a veteran sailor, referred to as the Dansker.

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SparkNotes: Billy Budd, Sailor: Plot Overview

billy budd plot summary

There is a new master-at-arms on the ship and his name is John Claggart. Thus, while those around him succumb to bitterness, to loss of faith, to the tyranny of the rule of law executed without wisdom, Billy Budd's legend grows; his spirit and his name endure in a world where he could not. The narrator is unable to explain the reason for Claggart's hatred of Billy, but suggests that he was possibly envious both of Billy's handsome appearance and good moral nature. Within Captain Vere's quarters, Vere enjoys a few drinks with First Lieutenant Redburn and Sailing Master Flint. Abandoning this effort, Vere dismisses Billy to a neighboring stateroom until further notice.

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Billy Budd Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis from LitCharts

billy budd plot summary

When the Red Whiskers punched Billy, Billy responded with a forceful blow of his own. Baritones who have sung the role of Billy Budd include , , , , , , , , and. Britten chose to replace him, and Evans sang a different role, that of Mr Flint. This punch hit just right and kills the master-at-arms. In a decisive move, Vere calls a drumhead court consisting of the captain of the marines, the first lieutenant, and the sailing master. It takes courageous men like the military hero to impress men enough to inspire true devotion.

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