Billy finds himself getting into trouble for little things. Whether the story is necessarily an indictment of Capital Punishment remains, for me, an open question. At any rate, there is plenty of food for thought in this pretty tiny package.
Vere hastily convenes a drumhead court, at which he is the only witness, and ensures that Billy is condemned.
But he didn't give up writing fiction privately; and this novella, begun late inis the testament to the fictional achievement of his later years. That pleasure has only grown with rereadings and my appreciation has deepened as I figured out some of the symbolism of the story.
Mar 05, Werner rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Classics fans; fans of "sailing-ship navy" yarns Shelves: historical-fictionclassics Herman Melville's place in the literary canon is secure today, mainly on the strength of his novel Moby Dick; but ironically, that work was largely panned by critics and regular readers alike when it was published, and in the last decades of his life he died in the author turned away from trying to publish fiction to write poetry instead.
Unable to express himself, he hits Claggart in the face and accidentally kills him.
He consults a wise Danish man for advice. Critics tend to treat Moby Dick as Melville's masterpiece; but I personally rated this tale higher, and stand on that. This is a setting much explored in subsequent fiction.
Vere calls Billy an angel of God. Claggart uses his authority to spy on Billy and cause trouble.