Two question discussion
1. Master-at-Arms John Claggart is presented in the novel as the embodiment of evil, but is he a believable character? Cite one or two quotations or specific scenes which demonstrate his evil, as well as his believability or lack thereof. What do you think are the motives for his hatred of Billy Budd? Do you think he genuinely believes Billy is a security threat?
2. When Billy strikes Mr. Claggart dead with one punch, Captain Vere says: "Fated boy." Based on that statement and what happens in the rest of the story, do you think that Captain Vere had any choice in deciding to have Billy hanged? Citing specific quotations and evidence in the novel, explain your answer. Did Vere make the "right" judgement and, more importantly, what do you think Melville's narrator thinks and why?