Essay about Herman Melville 's Moby Dick

Essay about Herman Melville 's Moby Dick

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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 the harpooneer. Captain Ahab has the same controlling affect over the rest of the crew of the Pequod and is proven as they follow the maniacal vengeance of Ahab’s quest to kill Moby Dick, resulting their deaths in the sinking of the Pequod.
The destruction of the Pequod is an apocalyptic ending to the novel and possibly the reason for its post-World War I reemergence among a generation that accounted for other fatalistic works, such as T. S. Elliot’s “The Wasteland.” A combination of this cataclysmic ending and biblical references has led most research on the novel to be focused the allegorical themes in the novel. This would lead the reader to believe that the destruction of the Pequod is a reference to—and consequence of—Ahab’s relationship with God. However, a close examination of Moby Dick under a new historicism approach exposes Melville’s recalcitrant nature and disdain for civil control, and reveals that the Pequod is destroyed because of man’s wrath against the mechanisms that contr...


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...that his allegory was comprehendible to Hawthorne (Horth 212). Additionally, as Ahab contends—“‘O Nature, and O soul of man! how far beyond all utterance are your linked analogies! not the smallest atoms stirs or lives on matter, but has its cunning duplicate in mind’” (Melville 303)—that in all communications are analogies in some way or another and Melville is straight forward in his use of analogies as biblical allegory. However, as Melville summons Saint Paul to bring some breeze to his “breezelessness” (Ibid), or rather, work as a muse to provide inspiration and context to his communication, he gives the impression that the use of allegory is not foundation of the novel. Instead, the use of allegory is the means in which Melville turns to provide direction for the novel and the “linked analogies” can be read as a connecting subject, weaved throughout the story.

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