While never a defeatist, Billy merely flows through his disjointed life without much heed to the event at hand. Billy realizes that he holds the power to create his own happiness and satisfaction out of life through appreciation of the present moment rather than contemplate the occurrence of past and future. Vonnegut develops Billy Pilgrim as a unique protagonist as a means of forcing the reader to question the application of free will upon society and gain a new perspective on the beauty of the present.
It was very unlike Billy to ever do something so rash; he brought out the best in everyone. Captain Vere felt in his heart that Billy’s actions were a mistake, but he could not be sure. The accusation Claggart made was mutiny, and mutiny was a serious crime. Vere had no proof that Billy was not guilty, so for the safety of himself and his crew, he sacrificed Billy’s life.
In the Epic Beowulf, composed in the 8th century, the reader follows the protagonist, Beowulf, on a series of adventures to defeat three key monsters. This old English poem uses a series of motifs to help develop its themes, known as dichotomies. Dichotomies, defined as “opposites on the same spectrum,” range from good and evil to young and old, light and dark to Christianity and paganism. All these dichotomies are represented clearly in the text; however the concept of Heroes and Villains can be pulled in many different directions. Although Beowulf is always the hero, it is questionable as to if his three opponents are simply “villains.”
Mrs.Bibbit, Billy’s mother, and friends with Nurse Ratched, is another authoritative figure in the novel. Mrs. Bibbit gains her power by preventing Billy, from becoming an adult. At first Mrs. Bibbit does realize that Billy is an adult and is able to function in society, When his mother tells him he has plenty of time to accomplish things such as going to college, and Billy reminds his mother that he is thirty-one years old, she replies, "'Sweetheart, do I look like the mother of a middle-aged man?'" (Kesey 247). This shows that Billy’s mom does not seem to understand that Billy is an adult that is able to live in the outside world. This Results in him feeling Insecure and he chooses to remain in the ward. “Sure! It’s Billy, turned from the screen... If I had the guts.” (168). This takes place after McMurphy realizes that the men are there voluntary, Billy explains to McMurphy that he could leave at any time if he wanted to but he believes he doesn’t have the guts to go out in society. Unfortunately in the end it is just the fear of his own mother, and Nurse Ratched’s manipulative ways that causes him to take his own life. Another family member who manipulates her "loved one" is Vera Harding, whose control over her husband is similar to that of Billy and his mother.
A hero is one who is not only strong, but one who uses his strength to uphold others. A hero is humble, philanthropic, magnanimous and selfless, a humanitarian at best. In the unprecedented epic Beowulf, the tale’s namesake exemplifies every characteristic befitting an Anglo-Saxon hero. He is honest, loyal, and courageous. He portrays these characteristics in the battle against Grendel, the affray with Grendel’s mother, and the fight against the dragon that inevitably ended his life.
‘No one in the novel can actually be seen as a hero.’ To what extent do you agree?
With this description, Vonnegut vastly distances Billy from the ideal, strong and mighty image of a soldier, yet Billy is a soldier nonetheless. Not only is this weak and ungracious character fighting and representing the honour of his country but also he is one of the few soldiers who survive the war; he outlives many of the other soldiers that could be considered better suited for war. Furthermore, Vonnegut compares Billy to a filthy flamingo, highlighting the distance that exists between society's soldier ideal, graceful and admirable, and the soldiers' reality, harsh and rampageous. In short, Billy is so far from what is expected that he “shouldn't even be in the Army” (51). However, Billy is not the only soldier in this ludicrous predicament. Vonnegut describes the entire Army as chaotic, confused and ludicrous:
“Hero” an arbitrary term, some are very obvious and legitimate ones such as Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi. Other’s will take a more personal route, saying their mom, dad, grandmother is a hero. Then, there are those who’ll look to music for heroes, and that is where Andrew Biersack comes into play. The lead singer of a small rock band called, “Black Veil Brides” with an obsession with Batman, would never seem to be a hero at a short glance, but who’s to say that someone can or can’t be a hero? Beowulf and Biersack share the cultural value of perseverance, qualifying them as heroes. Individually they have other values such as courage and guardianship.
Billy Budd is responsible for his own death. There are times when taking someone’s life is necessary such as a time of war, but not in a heating argument. Captain Vere, said it best that the crime is what they were worried about, not the case between right and wrong. The crime was murder. Billy was a hard worker who would do his best to help anyone out. However, Billy was not judged on the type of man he was he was judged by the action that had taken place.
When he tells Billy that he needs to figure it out and snap out of it, Billy says, “ You guys go on without me. I’m all right” (Vonnegut 47). This just displays the hopelessness in Billy’s life. The war has driven him to lose touch with himself and not value his own life. This makes it very easy for a reader to feel empathy for Billy and get an idea of how war can really affect these men. Billy isn’t the only character that Vonnegut uses to depict the terrors of war.
The protagonist, Billy Budd, is the major force of innocence in the book. Billy is a young man who seems to have everything going for him. He is big, strong, handsome, and he has a personality that draws
While constantly aware of Miss Drew’s situation, Billy can’t escape the realization of his position’s possible transiency and the fact that his life depends on his usefulness in the gang: “all I had to remember was how small of a mistake was sufficient to change my fortune, maybe even without knowing it. I was an habitual accomplice to murder. I could be arrested, tried, and sentenced, to death”(123). From this, Billy is impressed with one of the fundamental rules that accompanies inclusion in gang life—absolute loyalty to the gang’s interests. Billy observes the consequences of breaking this rule of loyalty when he hops onto the boat and into the scene of Bo’s sinking figure, and later, when Schulz’s personal life becomes complicated with a pending courtcase. The gang loyally relocates to the rural small town of Onondaga to help ensure the boss avoids jailtime. After painstakingly building an amiable reputation in the town for the Boss, Schultz’s temperament leads to “the president” Julie Martin’s murder in the hotel. The entire gang dutifully cleans the room and removes the body with cover up concluding with and unprepared Billy being punched in the face. After the fact, Billy comes to see the necessity of his subsequent broken nose yet is internally insulted and cannot shake the urge to “get revenge” (159). This affront to his own ego caused a shift
In the play Billy Budd, the author, Hermann Melvinne, creates two conflicting character personalities which are portrayed as good and evil. John Claggart (Master-At-Arms) tries to destroy Billy Budd because he is jealous of Billy’s reputation and acceptance among the crew. There is also a conflict involving Captain Vere when he is forced to decide on the fate of Billy Budd after he kills Claggart.
William ‘Billy’ Budd has been described as a ‘Christ’ like character. His physical appearance remains to be a focus throughout, and his perfection is, ultimately, what attracts all the sailors to him. Billy has an innocence to him that many on the ship have lost. However, nothing is perfect as it seems, as Billy’s flaws lead to his demise. Billy’s stutter, as well as his childlike mentality when it comes to aggravated situations show that while God can create seemingly ‘perfect’ beings, Satan and evil also have their say and play a crucial part. Billy’s death in the novella can be considered a mirrored image of Christ’s death in the bible. Even their last words bear a sense of forgiveness. Billy’s final “God Bless Captain Vere!”, (page 86), is very similar to Christ’s, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Billy’s final exclamation results in a lack of wavering faith and, almost, forgiveness for Captain Vere’s condemning William to death. Additionally, as written in chapter 27, Melville compares Billy to