A man "in whom was the mania of an evil nature, not engendered by vicious training or corrupting books or licentious living but born with him and innate, in short a depravity according to nature."" Melville describes Claggart as a man with an inborn evil, in contrast to being influenced by an evil society. Claggart is presented as a man with a personality and character that contrasts and conflicts with Billy's sweet innocence and ignorance. Where Billy is sweet, Claggart is bitter. Where Billy is nave, Claggart is knowledgeable. Where Billy is satisfied, Claggart is jealous. Lastly, where Billy is good, John is bad. When Billy first sees Claggart, it is while Claggart is flogging another crewmember. This evil action frightens Billy who then promises not to get in Claggart's way. Claggart is also portrayed as evil in the way he deceitfully accuses Billy satisfied, Claggart is jealous. Lastly, where Billy is good, John is bad. When Billy first sees Claggart, it is of being mutinous. This accusation also causes Billy to commit the evil deed of striking and murdering Claggart. As the plot progressed, Melville constantly gave insights and emphasis on representing Claggart as evil.
Billy's death further illustrates the theme of good versus evil. Melville portrays Billy Budd almost as a satisfied, Claggart is jealous. Lastly, where Billy is good, John is bad. When Billy first sees Claggart, it is Christ-like figure. Billy was not scared of his death and obediently went through with his execution. Melville vividly describes Billy's death with so many details that it can almost exactly be compared to the death of Christ. Examples are, Billy's blessing towards the captain ("God bless Captain Vere!-), the description of the sun breaking through the clouds ("with a soft glory as of the fleece of the Lamb of God seen in mystical vision"), and the miracle of Billy's non-twitching body that had never been seen before.