Inner dimensions and psychic landscapes are the real stuff of Melville’s writing
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.
The novel is a first person narrative, mostly represented through the eyes of Ishmael, as a narrator: “Call me Ishmael.” (Melville 21) “A first person narrator is an ‘I’ (occasionally a ‘we’) who speaks from her/his subject position.
The ocean not only engulfs two‑thirds of the earth but two‑thirds of Moby Dick; a literary space penned by Herman Melville which sweeps the reader in its ever‑elusive eddies of symbolic complexity. The symbolism in the novel ceaselessly ebbs and flows like the sea, submerging the reader into Melville’s imaginative sea voyage. This paper will examine the watery depths as a recognizable setting from the corporeal universe, further observing how Melville juxtaposes this element in such a peculiar way, that the reader has no choice but to abandon, “reason, tradition, belief, and rely solely on thought to interpret these images,” which accordingly creates an “opportunity for open imagination” (Glover, 2003:42) (Bachelard,1983: 22). From beginning
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.
Armed with the understanding of how the American people think and operate culturally, Melville was able to create, in fiction, an allegory for slavery, tolerance, leadership, and the political climate of America. Using religious devices he was able to form an epic that would not only entertain the public, but also give them reason to examine their own particular brand of cultural and political views. His ideas of equality were far to progressive at this time for society as a whole to except, though perhaps with his allegorical words he was able to get people to consider their own values, and what as American's and as people they found importance in.
The crew grew in eagerness as Ahab reached into his pocket and pulled out a golden doubloon that glistened in the sun. Previously, the crew had no interaction with Ahab; they only knew him by odd sightings and hyperbolic tales. Yet there he stood, with a single doubloon held high into the heavens, as he declared: “Whoever of ye raises me a white-headed whale with a wrinkled brow and a crooked jaw; whosoever of ye raises me that white headed whale with three holes punctured in his starboard fluke – look ye, whosoever of ye raises me that same white whale, he shall have this gold ounce, my boys” (Melville 233). With this golden doubloon, Ahab convinces his crew to hunt for the great ravaging monster known as Moby-Dick. In a story about implications and perspectives, where narratives shift from character to character, what does a doubloon mean to the crew? Melville paints the crew of the Pequod into a microcosm of actual society; every character represents some human facet and the golden coin nailed to the mast peers into the souls of each shipmate. The coin’s imprinted imagery is interpreted differently by each crew member, which leads the reader to ask what this piece of gold means. Why is a crew following a monomaniacal tyrant into the depths of hell? Although the coin shows us that each character has a specific motive for the actions he commits, ultimately the reader realizes that meaning is not integral to any single situation - like the hunt for the whale - every man must hunt for his meaning.
In Moby Dick, it follows the accounts of a young man named Ishmael. Ishmael is looking for money in the whaling business, the same thing as hunting game, but for whale blubber and whatever else they have to offer. At a tavern, he signs up to go whaling upon a ship named the Pequod, under the captaining of a man named Ahab. At first, Ishmael thinks he’s just your average whaling trip, but soon realizes there’s a deeper story behind Ahab. Ahab’s true intentions are to find a specific whale called Moby Dick. The whale is famous for sinking hundreds of whaling ships, and one was Ahab’s previous ship. In that process, Ahab also lost part of his leg at the knee. As you can imagine, most of the story Ahab is almost insane. At nothing anyone calls
Roger Chillingworth and Captain Ahab both are trying to seek revenge on those who did them wrong. First, Captain Ahab gets his leg bit off by a big white whale, which is called Moby Dick. Ahab tries to seek revenge on the whale by going on a ship and trying to find
The first few times that Ahab is introduced to the reader and to his crew, he appears to be inhuman. Even his description when he first appears on deck states that he “seemed made of solid bronze” (Melville 117). To compare him to a statue is to distance him from humanity – he is not a breathing, emotional being. However, as the book continues, it becomes blatantly obvious that Ahab hates his obsession and is greatly disturbed by the fact that he is obsessed. This self-hatred makes Ahab human because he knows that he is leading himself to his death and yet he is so possessed by his obsession that he can do nothing to stop it. Every human being can relate to this feeling, for at one point or another, everyone feels like they have lost control. Though Ahab may be an extreme example, he is simply a strong representation of a characteristic human sentiment.
In addition Ahab in "Moby Dick" is considered not only as an evil and sinful person but is selfish and greedy. The reason why he is sinful, evil, selfish, greedy, mainly is because he didn’t care what the other people on the ship wanted or that what he was going to do would or could bring dangers, and what he was doing was a waste of time, because instead of getting vengeance on "Moby Dick". He could be hunting whales for food and selling what’s left of them and make money.
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 to overcome the injustice of 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 with literal and symbolic meetings, which increase throughout the novel, 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.