nd Billy BuddMelvilles CharactersMelvilles characters are distinct individuals that have some similarities and differences. There are three traits that tie Captain Ahab and Billy Budd together even though they are on different sides in the fight between Good and Evil.
They each have communication problems that play a part in their deaths. Neither of them can see an issue from another point of view, nor can they be influenced by others, although for entirely different reasons. Ahab and Billy share a few traits even though they are generally opposite characters. Communication problems are one of the factors that lead to Ahabs and Billys deaths. Ahab never tells the entire truth to his men.
He only tells them the parts that he thinks will motivate them to help him catch the whale. If the entire crew had been told before they signed on to help that they would be hunting the most dangerous whale in the sea none of them would have gone on the voyage and died. Also, Ahab is so inflexible that no matter how heated the conversation gets, he wont change his opinion. Starbuck cant talk any common sense into Ahab, hes just too stubborn. If Ahab had listened to Starbuck, he might have died an old man instead of the way he did. Billys communication with others helps and hurts him. When Billy talks to people they almost always come away from the conversation with good feelings about Billy.
He makes a lot of friends that way. However, Billy has troubles communicating too. He cannot sense if the person he is talking to is truthful or not. He talks to Squeak several times but never even guesses that Squeak is talking to him for mischievous purposes. Billy also stutters when hes overcome, when he cant find words to describe the emotions he is experiencing. He ends up dying because of this character flaw.Neither Ahab or Billy can see more than one side of an issue.
Throughout the entire trip, Ahab never thinks of chasing the whale as something dangerous, something that shouldnt be done. Nearly everyone else on the ship, excluding Fedallah, thinks that chasing after one whale, the most dangerous whale in the entire ocean, is crazy and that its an unnecessary risk of the crews lives. But Ahab, because of his inability to consider his crews views about the hunt and because he can only think of the whale as pure evil, condemns them all to death. Billy can only see an issue in one way, innocently. He simply cannot think any other way.
He never suspects Claggart or anyone would to something to harm him. He doesnt think a person is capable of doing harm to him or anyone. Even when hes about to be hanged he cant believe that anyone would want to purposely harm him.
Ahabs ideas can not be changed by anyone except Moby Dick himself, but Billys mind cant be changed for a different reason his innocence is too powerful a trait in him. Starbuck tries arguing a few times but gets nowhere, Stubb and Flask dont even waste the energy because they know it will be a futile effort. The only character in the entire book that changes Ahabs mind is Moby Dick.
Ahab was a regular sea captain before Moby crosses his path. When Moby takes Ahabs leg something in Ahabs mind changes. He no longer makes rational decisions or thinks about the safety of his crew like a sane man would. His mind has been changed, perhaps to evil. Billy Budd has many reasons to change his mentality during the voyage, but he never does.
Even after Claggart betrays him, his innocence stays with him until he is hanged. A normal man would be consumed in anger at Claggart, or at the captain for carrying on with the hanging. But when he looks at his captain, the viewer knows that Billy is forgiving him. Only a pure, innocent mind that holds no hatred could forgive for its own death. His mind has not changed from its innocent beginnings.Both main characters have communication problems that lead to their death. They cant see other peoples views on an issue, they are only capable of seeing their own.
Neither of them can be influenced or changed by others. Melvilles characters of Captain Ahab and Billy Budd are for the most part opposites except for a few traits.Words/ Pages : 775 / 24