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The Plot Of "Moby Dick". Essay

1018 words - 4 pages

PlotIshmael the narrator announces his intent to ship aboard a whaling vessel. He has made several voyages as a sailor but none as a whaler. He travels to New Bedford, Massachusetts where he stays in a whalers inn. Since the inn is rather full, he has to share a bed with a harpooner from the South Pacific named Queequeg. At first repulsed by Queequeg's strange habits and shocking appearance Ishmael eventually comes to appreciate the mans generosity and kind spirit, and the two decide to seek work on a whaling vessel together. They take a ferry to Nantucket, the traditional capital of the whaling industry. There they secure berths on the Pequod a savage looking ship adorned with the bones and teeth of sperm whales. Peleg and Bildad the Pequod's Quaker owners drive a hard bargain in terms of salary. They also mention the ships mysterious captain Ahab who is still recovering from losing 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 nails a gold doubloon to the mast and declares that it will be the prize for the first man to sight the whale. As the Pequod sails toward the southern tip of Africa, whales are sighted and unsuccessfully hunted. During the hunt a group of men none of them anyone on the ship has seen before on the voyage emerges from the hold. The mens leader is an exotic looking man named Fedallah. These men constitute Ahab's private harpoon crew smuggled aboard in defiance of Bildad and Peleg. Ahab hopes that their skills and Fedallah's prophetic abilities will help him in his hunt for Moby Dick.The Pequod rounds Africa and enters the Indian Ocean. A few whales are successfully caught and processed for their oil. From time to time the ship encounters other whaling vessels. Ahab always demands information about Moby Dick from their captains. One of the ships the Jeroboam carries Gabriel a crazed prophet who predicts doom for anyone who threatens Moby Dick. His predictions seem to carry some weight as those aboard his ship who have hunted the whale have met disaster. While trying to drain the oil from the head of a captured sperm whale Tashtego one of the Pequod's harpooners falls into the whale's voluminous head which then rips free of the ship and begins to sink. Queequeg saves Tashtego by diving into the ocean and cutting into the slowly sinking head.During another whale hunt Pip the Pequod's black cabin boy, jumps from a whaleboat and is left behind in the middle of the ocean. He goes insane as the result of the...

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