Moby Dick is truly the main character of the book as the title shows. Although he is only in three chapters out of the whole, he takes on a big role to the crewmembers, especially Ahab. Firstly he becomes the focus of the whole whaling trip of the Peaquod. Moby Dick is not an ordinary whale. He has many features that set him apart. With his physical size and stature he towers over the sea, controlling everybody with fear. Other than the obvious physical obscurities, there are many symbols hidden in Melville’s whale. He has religious meaning, along with a national meaning, and an environmental meaning.
While you could argue that practically everyone who has gone through the American education system has at least heard of Moby Dick, the whaling industry, a main element of the epic, is not so well known. In order to fully understand and appreciate this great work, it is in my opinion, important to have somewhat of an understanding of the industry which it is centered around. This is especially true because whaling was such a prominent, and important aspect of 19th century culture and although far less popular, still exists today. Throughout this essay I will give a brief history of whaling, discuss why it was such an important industry in the 19th century, talk about whaling in modern times, and lastly, tie it in to the novel.
Ishmael marvels at this site from the Pequod, and on the second day paints the picture of “Right Whales” mowing through the brit, “leaving behind them endless swaths of blue upon the yellow sea” (Melville, 1851: 305). The meadow‑like appearance of the sea is truly a realistic one, however, the comparison is embellished in such a farfetched, illusory way that Melville’s readers have no choice but to desert reason and visualize an image that most individuals have never observed. As the chapter ensues, Melville continues to illustrate the ocean through Ishmael’s perspective, where the watery expanse is anthropomorphized, to “swallow up ships and crews,” evoking the image that the monster, is perhaps not the White Whale but the ocean; an element that represents “universal cannibalism,” and an unconquerable wild beast (Melville, 1851: 307). Ishmael describes the ocean as “a savage tigress that tossing in the jungle overlays her cubs […] Panting and snorting like a mad battle steed that has lost its rider, the masterless ocean overruns the globe” (Melville, 1851: 307). This is perhaps, Ishmael’s first realization that the ocean is not what it appears and that the “loveliest shades of azure,” make one forget the feral beast that prowls in the deep. This visual juxtaposition is one of many that appear in Moby Dick,
Moby Dick is one of the greatest books written in American literature but when it was first made, Herman Melville was shamed for writing it and hated. After a while Moby Dick was noticed from being a book everyone hated to one of the most popular pieces of literature now. The title Moby Dick is known by almost everyone in America. Originally Moby Dick was called The Whale that was originally published in 1851 but was changed to Moby Dick in a later date. The book starts out with a very famous line called “call me ishmael” which was the name of the main character/narrator who goes out to sea as a merchant and wants to go on a whale adventure. Captain Ahab gathers his crew to hunt down Moby Dick even though they were supposed to go to get oil
Herman Melville’s Moby Dick reveals the inner world of its characters. This essay aims to explore the inner dimensions and psychic landscapes of young Ishmael and his captain, Ahab, as constructed in the novel.
In Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea we are introduced to two individuals who share different opinions on nature and the marvelous creatures that make up the world around them. In this paper, I will explore the differences between Captain Ahab and Santiago. In Moby Dick, we are introduced to Captain Ahab and his personal quest to avenge the personal loss he suffered at the jaws of what he considered to “evil” while Ishmael recounts “ Ahab did not fall down and worship it like them; but deliriously transferring its idea to the abhorred white whale, he pitted himself, all mutilated, against it. All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and throught; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified and made practically assailable in Moby Dick” (Melville pg 156.) In this, he describes how Ahab’s previous encounter with the whale has tainted his opinion on the traditional values of “white” representing purity and righteousness and replaced it with the notion of the color representing evil and cruelty as though Ahab believed Moby Dick had a personal vendetta against him instead of nature simply protecting itself against a great threat.
Aside from the more obvious considerations touching Moby Dick, which could not but occasionally awaken in any man's soul some alarm, there was another thought, or rather vague, nameless horror concerning him, which at times by its intensity completely overpower all the rest; and yet so mystical and well nigh ineffable was it, that I almost despair of putting it in comprehensible form. it was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me. But how can I hope to explain myself here; and yet, in some dim, random way, explain myself I must, else all these chapters might be naught.
I. Biographical Insights
A. The culture this great author was a part of was the time in American history
where inspiring works of literature began to emerge. It was also a time when
American writers had not completely separated its literary heritage from Europe,
partly because there were successful literary genius' flourishing there.
B. Herman Melville was born on August 1, 1819, he was the son of Allan and Maria
The first allusion appears in the first line of the novel. “Call me Ishmael.” (Melville1). Ishmael was the biblical son of Abraham and his servant Hagar. He was disowned in favor of Isaac, Abraham’s son with his wife Sarah. An angel prophesied to Hagar. “his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.” (Genesis 16:12). The name “Ishmael” has since become used commonly for an outcast, which is appropriate since he is inexperienced when it comes to whaling and is viewed as AN outcast to the other sailors upon the Pequod.
At the conclusion of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and after three days of chasing the whale, the flag atop the Pequod’s main mast had become weathered and torn. Ahab instructs Tashtego to mount a new flag on the main mast and the Indian from Gay Head Massachusetts promptly complies. Tashtego’s compliance to his captain’s order is so diligent that even after the whale has struck the mortal blow against the ship, Tashetego continues to hammer in the flag as he and the mast sink into the sea (Melville 531, 535). The compliance to his captain and willingness to do what Ahab has instructed, instead of trying to scamper for his life, is testament to the Gay Header’s obedience. However, his obedience says as much about the control of the captain over