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Doing The Right Thing In Billy Budd

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Is doing the right thing really as important as everyone says it is? Billy Budd takes place on a ship during wartime. The main character, Billy Budd was known as being a peacemaker and a great man. He stuttered and had trouble expressing his emotions, but he was always positive. The crew loved Billy but he would always get in trouble for the smallest things because Claggart, the Master of Arms, hated him. Claggart lied to Captain Vere, yelling in Billy’s face, and telling him Billy was part of a conspiracy to start a mutiny on the ship. Billy was enraged, lost control of his actions, and punched Claggart. Claggart ended up dying from the blow. There was a trial about what was to be done with Billy. Captain Vere decided Billy broke the law by killing his superior, and he was sentenced to death by hanging. The next day Billy was executed. The decisions made by the characters in “Billy Budd,” prove that doing what is considered the right thing isn’t…show more content…
Ultimately, he decided on obeying the law, doing what he decided was the right thing to do. Although he followed his conscience, sentencing Billy to death caused him extreme guilt. He expresses this in his quote, “I am just a man, not fit to do the work of God... or the Devil.” This shows that although he followed what is right, it was detrimental to Captain Vere in the long run, because it caused him anguish and guilt. Although doing the right thing can temporarily benefit both the person doing the act, and who it affects, in the long run it doesn't matter. Every person still either ends up dead, or with some level of guilt regarding their decision. Billy Budd validates that doing the right thing doesn't always benefit people, shown by the outcome of Billy, Claggart, and Captain Vere’s
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