Billy Budd

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Billy Budd by Herman Melville fits into both categories of tragedy, classic and modern. This story fits into both Aristotle’s and Arthur Miller’s concepts of tragedy. Billy Budd is this story’s tragic hero and its his actions that determine how this story fits into both categories.The classic definition of tragedy is Aristotle’s, that the tragic hero must be noble and have a tragic flaw. He must also experience a reversal …

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…classic and modern tragedy. Melville combines the two unknowingly giving the audience a hero is so close to perfectness, yet held back by his naiveness and stutter. The reader understands Billy, because even though Billy is almost perfect, he is afraid just like anyone else. The reader can see himself in Billy’s predicament and knows that if Billy was just a little less naive he wouldn’t meet his end the way he did.