Should Vere Be Considered a Hero in Billy Budd by Herman Melville

Decent Essays
Billy Budd deals with a sailor who is the titular character of the novella. Billy was impressed on the Bellipotent but he was accepted by the crew of the ship for being kind-hearted and a handsome man many people adored. One day, Billy accidentally spilled his soup and Claggart, who has a hatred towards Billy, decides to plot against him. Late at night, Billy overheard two men talking about a mutiny and was wrongly accused for the rumor (talking about mutiny against the captain is a crime) by Claggart, the ship’s master-at-arms. Billy, filled with animosity, retaliates by striking Claggart and accidentally murders the man. The ship’s captain, Vere, summons a drumhead court-martial in fear of a mutiny bursting in any second. Vere follows the rule and have Billy hanged. In the essays of Charles Reich and Robert Martin, they claim that the decisions of the captain was wrongful. They are in the right mindset to believe that Billy shouldn't had been killed. In “ Is Vere a Hero?” Robert Martin argues that Vere should not be regarded as the hero of the story. Vere never did anything to clear up Billy’s innocence like launching an investigation about the entire event that happened. Instead, he ignores it and just decided on Billy’s fate, matters not if he is guilty for his actions or was a mere scapegoat by Claggart. Billy killed a man and that is all that matters to send him to the gallows. Martin mentions how Vere had perhaps abandoned his own humanity in favor of his position as
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