by Herman Melville
The short stories of Herman Melville are considered today to be among the small masterpieces of American fiction. Billy Budd, Melville's posthumously published novella, is a classic tale of innocence, evil, and murder that depicts the rivalry between a simple, handsome young sailor and a demonic superior.
Aboard the warship Bellipotent, the young orphan Billy Budd was called the handsome sailor. Billy was tall, athletic, noble-looking; he was friendly, innocent, helpful and ever-cheerful. He was a fierce fighter and a loyal friend. All the men and officers liked him...All but one: Master-at-Arms Claggart.