A Comparison of Melville's Moby Dick and Bartleby Essay

A Comparison of Melville's Moby Dick and Bartleby Essay

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A Comparison of Melville8217s Moby Dick and Bartleby

Herman Melville’s stories of Moby Dick and Bartleby share a stark number of similarities and differences. Certain aspects of each piece seem to compliment each other, giving the reader insight to the underlying themes and images. There are three concepts that pervade the two stories making them build upon each other. In both Moby Dick and Bartleby the main characters must learn how to deal with an antagonist, decide how involved they are in their professions, and come to terms with a lack of resolution.

Ahab is dedicated towards regaining control of his life by conquering the whale. His obsession with Moby Dick is what fuels his desire to spend months and months at sea. Ahab is so involved that he tries to get into the mind of the whale. He becomes obsessed with the whale’s every move. Similarly, the narrator is highly analytical of Bartleby’s behavior. He feels the need to know exactly what it is that makes Bartleby ‘tick’. Eventually the narrator is mentally defeated by Bartleby and is forced to change the location of his offices in order to avoid him. Ahab on the other hand is constantly chasing his antagonist and does whatever he can to get closer to Moby Dick.

The amount of involvement in one’s profession is another important theme in the two stories. Ahab takes his job as a whaler quite seriously. He is obsessed by the desire to destroy the whale that shattered his life. In contrast, the narrat...

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