Symbolism In Moby Dick

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Herman Melville's Moby Dick is a significant piece of literature. The novel's impact on popular culture is undeniable. The novel has been referenced in many entertainment pieces, with a 1926 silent film adaptation titled “The Sea Beast,” quotes from the novel used in the film “The Wrath of Khan,” and even Mastodon's Moby Dick-themed metal album Leviathan. Despite the novel's influence on popular culture, its literary aspect is known for being difficult and dense. Moby Dick is littered with hidden meaning that applies to many real world concepts. A major constituent of the novel is its religious aspect. A literary analysis of religious symbolism, and biblical references, will illustrate it's significant cultural context of the time. religious symbolism is of significant portrayal throughout the novel. Symbolism of Moby Dick being portrayed as God, or this great punisher, is indicated by many examples. "And how pleasing to God was this conduct in Jonah, is shown in the eventual deliverance of him from the sea and the whale" (Melville 52). When Father Mapple preaches the story of Jonah and the whale, he seems to mainly focus on Jonah's disregard towards God and his commands. In the story, God's wrath is depicted in the form of a whale. Also is the symbolism of anti-religious sentiment. Stricken with hatred ever since Ahab's leg was taken from him, Ahab has sought to conquer the whale, or rather in his mind, God. By attacking Moby Dick, Ahab is displaying a symbolic defiance towards God. Further demonstration of defiance can be attributed to Ahab's ivory leg. Do to his ivory leg, Ahab does not kneel. By not kneeling, he is showing defiance against God. Further symbolism is shown in the character Gabriel in Chapter 71. "Gabriel solem... ... middle of paper ... ... not only portrays Moby Dick in God-like parity, but symbolises the whale as humankind's incapacity to find absolute truth. With religious doctrine still being at the forefront of most Americans, Moby Dick unravels a new way of approaching worldly consciousness. As the novel is ahead of its time, the vast array of textual detail remains relevant "Tophet." n.pag. The Free Dictionary. Web. 9 May 2014. . "Transcendentalism, An American Philosophy." U.S. History Pre-Columbian to the New Mellennium. The Independence Hall Association. Web. 9 May 2014. . Kergan , Wade. "Mastodon Leviathan." All Music (2004): n.pag. All Music. Web. 9 May 2014. . Melville, Herman. Moby Dick. New York, London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1851. Web.

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