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Gams Of Moby Dick Essay

1024 words - 5 pages


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 against the injustice he perceived in 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, literal and symbolic meetings, which increase toward the novel’s climax, 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.
The captain of the Jeroboam, who tells Ahab of his first mate’s death upon attacking the white whale, is accompanied by Gabriel, an insane sailor who believes himself to be the forenamed archangel and “pronounc[es] the White Whale to be no less a being than the Shaker God incarnated” (266). Gabriel’s explanation of Moby-Dick’s power, and his worship of the white whale instead of God, provides the thinking for Melville’s choice in naming the ship the Jeroboam. Melville reminds the audience that like Ahab, the first mate of the Jeroboam sought out Moby-Dick with his harpoon with high hopes, but his spiritual insolence lead to Macey’s death. One evil Biblical king warns another of the costs of taking God’s doings into human hands. Herman Melville reveals the ultimate punishment that befalls on any man who attempts to rise above his limitations. This encounter ends as Gabriel, refuses to take a letter intended for the deceased first mate of the Jeroboam, which predicted that Ahab shall “soon [be] going that way” to the bottom of the sea and beyond (269). Gabriel warns Ahab that if he keeps pursuing the white whale his end will come. Ahab refuses to listen because he is selfish and is too determined to seek his revenge that he will risk his life and his crews life so he can kill the creature of the deep.
Similar to Ahab, the Samuel Enderbys’ captain has donated a limb to Moby-Dick, but unlike the Pequod’s leader, the Englishman wants to keep away from the White Whale, arguing, “ain’t one limb enough? What should I do without this other arm? … He’s best left alone” (368). The one-armed captain, head of a ship named for a wealthy British merchants, describes his experience to the one-legged...

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