Throughout the novel Melville carefully weaves together various artistic strands -- be they moments of aesthetic beauty, rich allusion, skillful manipulation of the diction and syntax, etc. -- which, when understood both independently and in context, can enrich every reader's appreciation of Billy Budd. While you may click here for a more full discussion of the various allusions Melville employs, this page pinpoints areas of the text in which the various strands combine to produce a particularly engaging passage.

From the opening sentence of this novel, Melville stresses the importance of paying close attention to every detail of the narrative. Thus, without specifying the year (although he did name the year as 1797 in the preface to the novel) Melville places the reader in a 'time before steamships.' Initially, this may not seem particularly important. Once