Essay about Comparing Billy Budd and the Life of Melville

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Parallels Between Billy Budd and the Life of Melville As with many great works of literature, it is important to become familiar with the author's life and time period in which he or she lived. This understanding helps to clarify the significance and meaning of his or her work. In many ways, Billy Budd depicts issues of importance to Herman Melville with both direct and indirect parallels to the time of the Civil War and to particular individuals of Melville's life. Important to the creation of Billy Budd were the war, current politics, slavery, and even the assassination of President Lincoln. This essay intends to identify the analogous relationship between these incidences and the particular individuals of Melville's life that…show more content…
The majority of the personal letters he received were thrown away. If he ever kept a journal, its whereabouts is unknown. It is known, however, that he and his family were Democrats and supported the Union. While he had a great respect for Southerners, he disagreed with slavery and unjust treatment of others. He strongly opposed Republican views. The Civil War affected more than just his political ideals. Religiously speaking, it appears as if Melville was suffering an internal religious struggle of sorts. As could be expected with any religious person that lives through a war, he came to question God and His existence. His religious beliefs were being put to a test. He grew to believe that God was cold and indifferent for allowing the disparities of war to take place. We will see later how the struggle between the good and evil within him parallels the struggle depicted throughout Billy Budd Also significant to Melville's thoughts on the Civil War were his views on the advancement of technology. He distrusted progress and, in many ways, wanted to hold on to the past. He enjoyed the days of the sailors and attempted to recreate them in his literary works. He tried to communicate these sentiments to a large audience through his writings with hopes that others would grow to share his belief He knew that technological advancements would force those saiormen days to disappear and lived to see his predictions
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