Billy Budd Quotes

Billy Budd: God bless Captain Vere!

Movie: Billy Budd
Captain Vere: Master-at-Arms, you possess too much knowledge for such a lowly post.
Master At Arms Claggert: Why, thank you, Sir.
Captain Vere: [impatiently] It's no flattery, Mr. Claggert. It's a melancholy fact!

Movie: Billy Budd
Master At Arms Claggert: We must serve the law, sir, or give up the right and privilege of service. It is only within that law that we may use our discretions according to our rank.
Captain Vere: You're so intelligent and so lucid for the rank you hold, Master At Arms.
Master At Arms Claggert: I thank you, sir.
Captain Vere: Yes, that's no flattery, Mr. Claggart. It's a melancholy fact. It's sad to see such qualities of mind bent to such a sorry purpose. What's the reason for it?
Master At Arms Claggert: I am what I am, sir. And what the world has made me.
Captain Vere: The world? The world demands that behind every peacemaker there be the gun, the gallows, the jail. Do you think it will always be so?
Master At Arms Claggert: I have no reason not to, sir.
Captain Vere: You live without hope?
Master At Arms Claggert: I live.
Captain Vere: But remember, Mr. Claggart, that even the man who wields the whip cannot defy the code we must obey and not be broken by it. That will be all.
Master At Arms Claggert: Aye, sir. With your permission, sir, is it still to be ten lashes?
Captain Vere: It is.

Movie: Billy Budd
[Billy and the Dansker have just witnessed a flogging]
Billy Budd: What was his crime?
The Dansker, sailmaker: Any one of many possible reasons.
Billy Budd: You mean you don't know what he did?
The Dansker, sailmaker: Flogging. The only solution to every problem. I warrant even the culprit himself doesn't know! It was just... his... turn!

Movie: Billy Budd