The Characters And Plot Of "Moby Dick" By By Herman Melville

1543 words - 6 pages

The Characters and PlotThere are numerous characters in Moby Dick, but only a few of themhave any impact on the story. A common sailor named Ishmael is thenarrator. The book, however, focuses on Captain Ahab, the one-leggedcommander of the whaling ship Pequod. Ahab has sworn to kill thegigantic whale Moby Dick, who took away his leg. Starbuck is thefirst mate of the Pequod. Queequeg, Tashtego, and Daggoo are thethree harpooners.The story begins with Ishmael becoming restless. He decides to goout to sea on a whaling ship. In the port of New Bedford, he meetsand shares a room with a harpooner named Queequeg. The two of thembecome close friends, and agree to ship out together.The day after they reach Nantucket, Ishmael begins searching for awhaling ship preparing to leave harbor. Out of three ships ready toleave, he chooses the Pequod. The owners of the ship, Captains Pelegand Bildad are excited to hear of Queequeg from Ishmael and gladlylet him join the crew. They are told the captain of the ship isnamed Ahab. Peleg and Bildad say that he is a good man, but becauseof some strange illness, he is confined to his cabin.On Christmas day, and with Ahab still in his cabin, the Pequod setssail in the Atlantic. As the weather begins to warm up (severalmonths after leaving port), Ahab is finally seen on deck. Thestrangest thing about Ahab is his leg. Instead of flesh and bone, hehas a white ivory peg leg.As the weeks wear on, Ahab starts to become friendlier. One day, hecalls the crew before him. He tells them that the sole mission ofthe Pequod is to kill Moby Dick. Moby Dick is a gigantic sperm whalewith a crooked jaw and a deformed forehead. He has never beendefeated, and has attacked and sunk entire ships. Ahab admits hehates Moby Dick for taking his leg away, and wants revenge. The crewagree to this challenge, and swear to hunt him down. The only who isnot excited about hunting down Moby Dick is first-mate Starbuck.For many months, the Pequod sails South, through the Atlantic,around the Cape of Good Hope (the southern tip of Africa), and intothe Indian Ocean. Along the way, they kill and drain the spermacetioil from every sperm whale they encounter. Each time they meetanother ship, Ahab begins the conversation with "Hast seen the WhiteWhale?".Finally, after entering the Japanese sea, the Pequod encounters awhaling ship named the Enderby. The Enderby's captain had justrecently lost his arm to Moby Dick. Ahab becomes so excited at thenews that he breaks his ivory leg. The ship's carpenter builds him anew one.Once reaching the waters around the equator, the Pequod meetsanother whaling ship, the Rachel. They had seen Moby Dick, and hadbecome separated from one of the whaling boats during the battle.Ahab refuses to help them look for the missing men.At last, Moby Dick is spotted by Ahab. In the first day offighting, the whale is harpooned many times, but escapes aftersmashing Ahab's boat. On the second day, the whale is harpoonedagain, but still escapes. On...

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