Herman Melville, in his renowned novel Moby-Dick, presents the tale of the determined and insanely stubborn Captain Ahab as he leads his crew, the men of the Pequod, in revenge against the white whale. A crew mixed in age and origin, and a young, logical narrator named Ishmael sail with Ahab. Cut off from the rest of society, Ahab attempts to make justice for his personal loss of a leg to Moby Dick on a previous voyage, and fights against the injustice he perceived in the overwhelming forces that surround him. Melville uses a series of gams, social interactions or simple exchanges of information between whaling ships at sea, in order to more clearly present man’s situation as he faces an existence whose meaning he cannot fully grasp. Nine encounters, literal and symbolic meetings, which increase toward the novel’s climax, can be found as the Pequod; a Nantucket whaler, hunts in the Pacific Ocean. In Herman Melville’s’ Moby Dick, the Pequod meets nine ships, as three are named the Jeroboam, the Samuel Enderby, and the Rachel are filled with biblical allusions and foreshadow the end of Ahab’s life while showing his increasing distance between him and humanity.
The captain of the Jeroboam, who tells Ahab of his first mate’s death upon attacking the white whale, is accompanied by Gabriel, an insane sailor who believes himself to be the forenamed archangel and “pronounc[es] the White Whale to be no less a being than the Shaker God incarnated” (266). Gabriel’s explanation of Moby-Dick’s power, and his worship of the white whale instead of God, provides the thinking for Melville’s choice in naming the ship the Jeroboam. Melville reminds the audience that like Ahab, the first mate of the Jeroboam sought out Moby-Dick with his harp...
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...rom humanity during the three-day-long chase for Moby-Dick, fails to kill the White Whale, a task which the Rachel, the Jeroboam, and the Samuel Enderby have attempted, though with divergent ideas of will and understanding. As determined as Ahab may be, man cannot defeat God’s overpowering plan. Ishmael, the only survivor from the Pequod’s crew, is saved by a coffin and “the devious-cruising Rachel,” as Melville reveals in the epilogue with a heading from the Book of Job (470). The very ship that Ahab refused to help due to his monomaniacal way of life; comes to the rescue and ensures that a record of the hero’s final days should be kept as both a warning to those who question God’s ways. That record, including the Biblical, symbolic gams, provides a testament to a sole battle in mans struggle, as Ahab alone challenges to face what he sees as evil in the world.
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