This paper responds to the background information on Herman Melville, volume B. First the paper looks at the reasons why Claggart is "down on Billy." Again, the paper also entails a response to some given notes about the volume’s chapters.
When responding to the reason why Claggart is “down on Billy,” it is important to look at the background information about Melville’s ironies. Dansker is the first person to suggest the notion that Claggart is “down on Billy.” Claggart appears to have strong sexual feelings for Billy. Billy’s opinions are however hidden (Melville). Dansker says that officers harass Billy mainly because Claggart is on him. Billy’s aspects like good looks, attractive voice, and sweet words attract Claggart. Generally, Claggart is “down on Billy” for a sexual relationship. Although the truth about the notion is hardly established clearly, the villainy of Claggart is evident by being a secret hostility. His attribute of masking the hostility behind what seems to be friendliness depicts a high level of hypocrisy (Melville).
Regarding the notes, the narrator uses a set of the past to depict a character withdrawn from the larger society. The narrator is hardly reliable to some extent. This happens especially because most of the story’s obvious features are ambiguous. Questions and ambiguity seem to be at every point (Lecture Notes). Billy should be perfect and un-fallen, but this is not the case. Nevertheless, Billy has beaten a sailor and Red whiskers on a previous ship. He has also killed Claggart. He further lies during his trial about knowing the plot for mutiny. Claggart is possibly acting patriotically in an attempt to save the ship. Vere seems to be a balanced character, but he covers up for Billy’s killings during the trial (Lecture Notes). The three characters depict a conflict besides the obvious conflict between the rights of the society and individual rights.
Lecture Notes. SparkNotes: Moby-Dick. 2014. Print.
Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick. Bantam Classics, 1981. Print.