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Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 24

The sentry took Billy Budd to the upper gun deck to hold him there until the morning. They were surrounded by extremely large cannons, all painted black. Billy, with his slightly stained white clothing, sat between two of these black cannons. He sat very peacefully and eventually drifted off to sleep. The chaplain came by to offer him some words of comfort, but when he noticed Billy resting so peacefully, he walked away thinking that there was nothing he could say to make him feel better than that. When the chaplain came by again, Billy was awake and he welcomed the chaplain. Billy wasn't really afraid of death (not that he didn't fully understand the concept of it) because he saw death as something natural. Yet Billy politely listened to the chaplain's sermons on death even though he didn't care to understand much of what he was talking about. The chaplain, knowing that Billy was essentially innocent by a lieutenant's report, didn't try too hard to convert Billy to Christianity before his execution. As the chaplain left, he kissed Billy on the cheek. It might seem strange that the chaplain, fully aware of Billy's innocence, didn't do anything in his power to stop the execution. But it seems less strange when you realize that the chaplain is simply a servant on this ship. Therefore, he doesn't serve the Christian God but instead serves Mars, the God of War.

Chapter 25

At around four o'clock in the morning, the sun began to rise. Suddenly eight bells were rung, signaling the crew to assemble on deck to witness the execution. The entire crew came flooding onto the deck, but after they settled into place, it was almost completely quiet. Captain Vere stood facing them all as he watched over the proceedings. Billy was brought in with the chaplain attending him. Now in place facing the crew and the captain, the boatswain's mates placed the rope around Billy's neck. Right before his hanging, Billy Budd said, "God bless Captain Vere!" It was certainly a surprising thing for Billy to say, but the crew took to it kindly, and repeated his words. Captain Vere stood completely straight while this was said, not knowing exactly what to make of it. The order was given to hang Billy, and at that precise moment as they were raising Billy, the sun had risen behind him. The crew expected to see Billy convulse and shake as all people do when they're hung, but for some reason Billy didn't shake at all before he died.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3 and 4
Chapter 5 and 6
Chapter 7 and 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10 and 11
Chapter 12 and 13
Chapter 14 and 15
Chapter 16 and 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19 and 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22 and 23
Chapter 24 and 25
Chapter 26 and 27
Chapter 28, 29, and 30


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