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Victims of Strict Circumstances, Strictly Enforced Rules and Hatred in the Novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Billy Budd by Herman Melville
Word Count: 557
Innocent victims appear very often in literature Anti-transcendentalist authors often make their protagonists victims of strictly enforced harsh rules or malice to prove their pessimistic point An example of such is Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter or Herman Melvilles Billy Budd Sailor In both stories the protagonists are depicted as victims of strict circumstances strictly enforced rules and hatred However the characters are guilty victims that are punished too severely Billy Budd in Herman Melvilles Billy Budd is the major force of innocence in the book Billy is a young man who seems to have everything going for him He is big strong handsome and he has a personality that draws everyone to him Everywhere he went he charmed people gaining the respect of those around him A great deal of imagery is used describing how aesthetically perfect Billy is Besides Billys stutter and naivety he seems perfect Billys downfall had several factors The main cause of his downfall was basic hatred and jealousy on behalf of Claggart Claggart simply did not like Billy Billys charisma had no affect on Claggart Claggart wanted Billy out of the picture Claggart knew of Billys stuttering problem had tried to use it to his advantage Claggart falsely accused Billy of trying to start a mutiny and Billy could not answer Billy then killed Claggart with one blow Captain Vere who is described as never tolerating an infraction of discipline Then followed strict British naval laws and had Billy executed for murder Billy did not technically sin he struck in anger and retaliation The execution of Billy is a result of strict naval rules and an overzealous captain Billy is a victim of cruel and excessive punishment In Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne is also a victim She is a young beautiful and talented young woman Everybody besides bridesmaids wore her fashionable clothing Her one flaw is that she temporarily could not control her emotions
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