Billy Budd


Herman Melville

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Billy Budd: Chapter 12 (not in all editions) Summary & Analysis

The narrator ponders the legal system and wonders why clergymen are not involved, since they have experience dealing with human nature and have knowledge about morality and human evil. He justifies this digression by saying that it was necessary because Claggart's mysterious, evil nature is central to the story.
This chapter may seem like a digression in the narrator's winding tale, but the issue of justice—and of who ought to decide the fate of accused individuals—will soon become of central importance to the narrative.
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