|dc.description.abstract||Musical characterisation plays an important role in Britten's operas. The aim of this
study was to determine how Britten depicts the diverse, dualistic characters in Billy
Budd through music. Ambiguity, which is characteristic of this opera, is the result of
the manner in which the plot is portrayed musically through developing motives.
The conflict between the diverse characters in Billy Budd is depicted by the thematic
material. The musical ideas and motives change as the plot becomes more
complex. The method of investigation was, in the first instance, to analyse the
musical ideas associated with each character. Second, the manner in which these
ideas change through the course of the opera was pointed out.
The story does not only concern itself with the relationship between good and evil.
The fate of the three main characters, Billy, Vere and Claggart, is precisely the
opposite of their true nature. Who they really are, is not reflected in their doings, as
depicted by the integrated themes. Billy, the innocent boy, kills. Vere, the father
figure, doesn't protect Billy on the day of his conviction. Claggart, who manipulates
to have his own way, can't avoid his own death.
This study shows that Billy is represented by the stammer figure and Vere by the
"Starry Vere" motive. Vere's inner conflict is depicted by the ambiguous
combination of a major third and minor third interval. The confusion that eventually
leads to Billy's demise is represented by intervals of a perfect fourth, associated with
Claggart. During the course of the opera, Vere's music is infiltrated by Claggart's
Billy is represented in the opera by the woodwind instruments, Vere by the strings
and Claggart by the brass instruments.||