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The True Character Usually one would judge others at first sight by their appearance and first impressions then make an initial inference about them Through the interaction and conversation one had with people they might not be able to decipher between what was the truth and what was untrue Herman Melville through his novel Billy Budd conveyed the theme of appearance versus reality in the novels three main characters In the beginning of the novel Melville portrayed each character with distinct personality Billy Budd was represented as the simple-minded sailor Claggart was viewed as the villain and Captain Vere was seen as the honorable superior of the ship As the novel developed the earlier images of these characters were contradicted as previously unseen traits of each character were revealed Throughout the novel the characters appearances differed from their inner selves John Claggart was kind and friendly to Billy in appearance but in reality a villain planning to destroy Billy On the outside he was clean- living calm rational a man of high quality social and moralP30 However he only showed kindness toward Billy to mask his unkind intentions He applied all the powers of his intelligent mind to bringing about his hateful purposes in secret When Billy approached Claggart would step aside a little to let him pass dwelling of a Guise But upon any abrupt unforeseen encounter a red light would flash forth from his eyes like a spark from an anvil in a dusk smithy P51 Also when Claggarts unobserved glance happened to light on belted Billythat glance would follow the cheerful sea-Hyperion with a settled meditative and melancholy expression his eyes strangely suffused with incipient feverish tears P51 The quotes contradicted Claggarts actions upon seeing Billy and his true evil face behind Billy Claggarts job was master-at-arms aboard the Indomitable but in fact what he did was spy on the crew of the lower gun decks He was supposed to report any
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