Compare and Contrast Billy Budd versus Bartleby Essay

1876 Words 8 Pages
A Comparison/Contrast Analysis of "Billy Budd" and Bartleby"

Several comparisons and contrasts can be made concerning the two stories, Billy Budd and Bartleby, written by Herman Melville. The setting of the two stories reveals an interesting comparison and contrast between the British Navy on the open sea, and the famous Wall Street of New York. The comparison and contrast of characters, Billy Budd, Captain Vere, and Claggart in Billy Budd, and the `narrator' and Bartleby in Bartleby, at times are very much alike, and also very different. The conflict, climax and resolution of the two Melville stories contain similarities and differences. These two stories, on the exterior, appear to be very different, and on the interior
…show more content…
The setting for Billy Budd is on a British naval ship, sailing on the sea during the late 1700s. This was a critical period for the British Navy. Great Britain was at that time an imperial presence all around the world. This included the Americas, Africa, Australia, India, and the Far East. All these territories had stretched British Naval forces beyond its capacity to govern and control such a huge empire. These complications eventually led to its decline. In contrast, the setting for Bartleby was New York City's Wall Street. During the early to mid 1800s, Wall Street was the center of America's financial and business life. The banking and credit institutions, insurance companies, and the growing stock exchange were all revolutionizing the American economy.

The comparison and contrast of the characters will begin with who the main characters are. In the story of Bartleby, the main characters are the unnamed `narrator,' who is the employer at the copying office; and Bartleby, the hired scrivener, or copyist. There are several minor characters in this story, and their symbolism is of some small significance to the story. In Billy Budd, the main characters are Billy Budd, the handsome sailor; Claggart, the master-at-arms; and Captain Vere, the commander of the ship. The
Open Document