"Passion, and passion in its profoundest, is not a thing demanding a palatial stage whereon to play its part. Down among the groundling, among the beggars and rakers of the garbage, profound passion is enacted." (Page 78, Section 143)
As I read this quote at the beginning of Chapter 13, I was really struck by it. I think it is a great statement about human nature and is true... with the exception of Billy. I feel that Billy does not exhibit any examples of passion throughout the novel. He works hard yes, but that is because it's all he knows. He never hosts a strong passion similar Claggart's, never even dislikes the guy until right before he throws the fatal punch.
The punch, some might say, is the perfect example of passion. I have to disagree and say that I think it was Billy's childlike reaction to a situation he had never encountered before. So if everyone is capable of passion why isn't Billy?