Billy Budd (Envy)

434 Words2 Pages
Envy can affect one’s actions towards others in a negative or positive manner. Readers notice in some novels this idea through certain characters envious actions. In Herman Melville’s novel, Billy Budd, Claggart, the antagonist, envy grows towards the protagonist, Billy Budd, throughout the novel. For unexplainable reasons Claggart hated and envied Billy’s innocent nature causing the platitude, “bad things happen to good people” to come in affect. If envy was not a strong factor in Claggart’s life then he would have been a respectable character in the novel. Billy Budd’s appeal and envious nickname, “The Handsome Sailor” created Callgart’s envy. Billy is a tall and athletic with a body emulating Hercules. He has a beautiful face that makes him appear remarkably younger than his present age. Billy resembles Adam innocents before he ate from the tree of knowledge. His major weakness is that he trusts the people around him and is ready to believe what they have to say. Although Billy was told by Dansker, “Jemmy Legs is down on you”(39;ch16) which meant Claggart disliked, Billy would not concur with him because he saw good in everyone. He did not understand Claggart’s reasons to dislike. The Handsome Sailor refused to believe that Claggart was a horrific person, which later lead to his hanging. Claggart, a man with a very mysterious background, who is the master-at-arms on the Bellipotent. He is evil in a way that most of the crew can never understand. Placed next to pure goodness (Billy Budd), Claggart sees all the qualities that he lacks in Billy. This creates the envy that sought out to destroy Billy’s life. He accuses Billy for trying to star a mutiny and tried to convict him of high treason. This envy that Claggart is submerged in, clouds his good judgment and creates a quagmire for Billy. The envy grew in Claggart so much that Billy could not bare it anymore.
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