Moby Dick Essay

4884 words - 20 pages

Moby Dick

Moby-Dick is the one American story which every individual seems to recognize. Because of its pervasiveness into our country’s collective psyche, the tale has been reproduced in film and cartoon, and references to the characters and the whale can be found in commercials, sitcoms, and music, proving the novel to still be relevant today. It is the epitome of American Romanticism because it delves into the human spirit, the force of imagination, and power of the emotions and the intellect. The novel praises and critiques the American society in sharp and unequivocal terms, while, at the same time, mirroring this mixed society through the “multinational crew of...the Pequod” (Shaw 61). Melville, through his elaborate construction of the novel, “makes the American landscape a place for epic conquest” (Lyons 462). The primary draw of this novel is the story itself: a whaling ship, headed by a monomaniac, and the pursuit of a whale, or the American dream and its attainment, making a clear “connection between Romanticism and nationalism” (Evans 9). The novel calls upon the reader’s imagination, emotions, and intellect to fully understand the journey of the story, the journey which takes the reader on a most unusual trip into the soul of mankind.

The two primary characters, Ishmael and Ahab, are two parts of one whole. Ishmael is an Everyman; and as such, he is the ideal model of the emotions, the imagination, and the appreciation of the beauty and power of Nature, God, and man, coupled with timely infusions from his intellect and reasoning capabilities. He is clearly an articulate narrator who blends intellect and emotion, though at times he stays wholly within the reign of the emotions. Conversely, Ahab is the model of the intellect, the force of will and the darkness which accompanies intellectual obsession at the expense of emotional stability. When he delves into the spiritual and emotional parts of himself, he does so only briefly and with little comprehension. The two characters are clearly opposites to one another. But by the action’s end, Ishmael and Ahab begin to cross the lines into each other’s manner of thinking and explore, in their own way, the idea of self discovery. And it is this blending of thoughts and ideas which makes it blatantly clear for the reader that the entire novel is a contsruct of the whole foundation of American Romanticism, with all of the nationalistic pride this mode of writing entails. By meshing the Romantic ideals through the two primary characters, the novel further positions itself as catalist for all of these ideologies. Imagination, the forces of nature and man’s will, the connections between man, God, and nature, and the roles of the intellect and the emotions are all blended in Melville’s characterization of both Ahab and Ishmael.

The story’s beginning, which the reader does not discover until the end, is Ishmael’s “albatross.” This is a tale which Ishmael must...

Find Another Essay On Moby Dick

Moby Dick Essay

1871 words - 7 pages MOBY DICK "Call me Ishmail." begins the story of Moby Dick. Ishmail is the narrator of the story of the great white whale, which takes not only a man's leg, but to many others they also think that the special white whale may also have taken the sanity out of the old, wise Captain Ahab. The story Moby Dick is written by Herman Melville, a man who did not like nature and wanted to kill everything that was a threat to man. This story shows the

Moby Dick. Essay

1056 words - 4 pages Rob CorneliusThe Whiteness of the Whale2. What makes Ishmael swear an oath to kill the white whale? DoesIshmael see Moby Dick the same way which Ahab sees him? Why is thewhiteness of the whale terrifying?We know that Ahab has long before this story taken an oath to kill Moby Dick, but why have Ishmael and the crew of the ship taken up this oath too? And what exactly is the significance of the whale's white skin? I believe that these two

Herman Melville's Moby Dick

2604 words - 11 pages Moby dick is a novel written by Herman Melville. The books takes place on the open seas, where very little happens. It has earned its status as a literary classic not by the typical presentation of a nuanced, epic plot or by devoting itself to absolute perfect portrayal of the world, but by its sheer bravado and omnipresence matched only by the god-character whom the novel takes its name from, Moby Dick. This is not to say that Moby Dick’s plot

Moby Dick Book Report

866 words - 3 pages The book named Moby Dick is a story based on real voyages by the author Herman Melville. Melville was inspired to write this book from events that had happened to him as a whaler. The book Moby Dick is a medium reading level book with 635 pages. The book starts off with one of the most famous book lines, “Call me Ishmael”. Ishmael is the narrator who has skills in many different areas of expertise, but he wants to go on a whaling boat. Many

gams of moby dick

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

Moby Dick: Culturally Aceptable

1939 words - 8 pages Contained in the text of Moby Dick, Herman Melville uses many widely cultural symbols, stories and actions to tell the tale of a whaling ship bent on the desires of its captains abhorrence for a real, and also symbolic, creature in the form of an albino sperm whale named Moby Dick. The time is 1851 and civil unrest is looming just over the horizon: slavery is the main point of interest in American politics, the last major novel released was

Ambiguity in Moby Dick

1360 words - 5 pages In his novel Moby Dick, Herman Melville seeks to explore the ambiguities of good versus evil, as well as the ambiguities within man himself. Melville treats the open ocean and the Pequod, a whaling vessel, as a microcosm of society in order to explore the true nature of humanity. During this journey the reader is introduced to two integral characters: Ishmael and Ahab. While the two may seem polar opposites in terms of personality and

The plot of "Moby Dick".

1018 words - 4 pages his leg in an encounter with a sperm whale on his last voyage.The Pequod leaves Nantucket on Christmas Day with a crew made up of men from many different countries and races. Soon the ship is in warmer waters, and Ahab makes his first appearance on deck balancing gingerly on his false leg. He announces his desire to pursue and kill Moby Dick,the legendary great white whale who took his leg because he sees this whale as the embodiment of evil. Ahab

Good and Evil Moby Dick

645 words - 3 pages Good and Evil Moby Dick In Melville’s Moby-Dick, Queegueg and Ahab show distinction between good and evil through the treatment of others, themselves and situations. Although Queequeg is a pagan, he has more Christian attributes than even the most devout Christians on the Pequod. Ahab is not the person that everyone would expect to be the most iniquitous character of them all. Most would say that Moby Dick himself personifies evil however

Symbolic Elements in Moby Dick

1756 words - 7 pages Symbolic Elements in Moby Dick There is a symbolic element in every great literary work, which makes the author's message more tangible and real to his readers. In Herman Melville's Moby Dick, one such element is the idea of the "counterpane," or tapestry, of humanity, that is woven throughout the story as a symbol of the world's multiculturalism. Melville develops this symbolism on at least three levels, proving that the world is indeed a

Metaphysical Ideologies in Moby Dick

1401 words - 6 pages Metaphysical Ideologies in Moby Dick At first glance, Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick, appears to be the story of a man, his captain, and the whale that they quest to destroy.  But a closer look reveals the author’s intense look at several metaphysical ideologies.  He explores some of the most ponderous quandaries of his time, among these being the existence of evil, knowledge of the self and the existential, and the possibility of a

Similar Essays

Moby Dick Essay

657 words - 3 pages weeks after there ship the Pequod leaves Nantucket they start to head south towards warmer weather. Only when the weather got warmer Ishmael first saw the captain Ahab standing on a balcony. After a few more weeks Ahab called all the sailors up to the deck and told them whoever spotted a great white whale with a crooked jaw would get a gold coin. Everyone immediately knew that the captain was talking about Moby Dick. Ahab also told the crew member

Moby Dick Essay

1421 words - 6 pages Moby Dick is a story of Captain Ahab, commander of the whaling ship Pequod, who seeks revenge upon the white whale that took his leg. Ahab struggles with the whale Moby Dick, but also against what the whale symbolizes: the awesome power of nature. As evinced by dialogue in the later chapters, the captain comes to realize that Fate, or some larger universal power, controls him. Despite his apparent recognition of the futility and evil of his

Moby Dick Essay 701 Words

701 words - 3 pages Ahab: Ahab constantly makes unjust decisions. He is poisoned with his dying urge to kill Moby Dick. So he has bad judgement, that leads to issues with the crew. Ahab makes very unwise decisions, he lets his dying urge to kill Dick get in his way and clog his mind. Ahab’s motivation is to kill Moby Dick for revenge from taking his leg. Ahab’s actions affect the crew and people around him, because he can’t make a clear judgement because he wants

Moby Dick Essay 1942 Words

1942 words - 8 pages "Moby Dick is biographic of Melville in the sense that it discloses everynook and cranny of his imagination." (Humford 41) This paper is apsychological study of Moby Dick. Moby Dick was written out of Melville'sperson experiences. Moby Dick is a story of the adventures a personnamed Ishmael. Ishmael is a lonely, alienated individual who wants to seethe "watery part of the world." Moby Dick begins with the main character,Ishmael, introducing