Moby Dick

Moby Penis is a story about male’s abiding fascination and battle with the sea, and his desire to unravel the secrets of the deep. The sea in Herman Melville’s 1851 unique becomes the context within which the author checks out profound and universal themes about life and living. The story informs the story of vengeful captain as seen through he a stowaway sailor, Ishmael, who roams and aboards the whaling ship, Pequod.

The Pequod is commandeered by a particular Captain Ahab, whom Ishmael fulfills just when the Pequod has gone to sea.

In the future, Ishmael recognizes that Captain Ahab has more sinister strategies which surpassed easy business ventures. While the Pequod is a whaling ship and her crew is expected to catch whales for trade, Captian Ahab plans to utilize the ship and her team to exact vengeance on a whale that has gravely hurt and damaged him. The whale’s name is Moby Dick, and the unique focuses on Ahab’s chase for this excellent animal amidst the large and unforgiving sea, as translucented the eyes of young Ishmael. Ishmael plays no actual role in the unfolding of the story; rather, he functions as the author’s storyteller and the instrument by which the author reveals his extensive musings on whales, whaling, and whalers and the relationships that each needs to the other.

Much scholarly discussion has actually been made on Moby Penis and the underlying themes that buttress the story. As such, this paper plans to handle the story and frame the analysis within the context of one specific passage in the book. The specific quote goes: Perhaps they were; or perhaps there might have been shoals of them in the far horizon; but lulled into such an opium-like listlessness of uninhabited, unconscious reverie is this preoccupied youth by the blending cadence of waves with ideas, that at last he loses his identity; takes the mystic oceans at his feet for the visible picture of that deep, blue, endless soul, pervading mankind and nature; and every odd, half-seen, moving, lovely thing that avoids him; every dimly-discovered, up-rising fin of some indiscernible kind, appears to him the personification of those evasive ideas that just individuals the soul by continually flitting through it. (p. 152)

These words were informed by a skilled whaler to a young and impressionable lad, like an old man passing on his wisdom and life experiences to the next generation, in the hopes that they may obtain valuable lessons from it. The whaler notices that the young sailor has actually been heading out to sea for 3 years currently, without catching a single whale all those times. Hence the whaler goes to assess the elusive whale and the relatively limitless look for them. “Possibly they were; or maybe there may have been shoals of them in the far horizon …”

At first sight and offered the context of the book, it is apparent that the whaler is talking about whales in this line. The whaler waxes about the vastness of the ocean and that someplace in this enormous space lie an abundance of whales, whales which he has spent all his life searching. Nevertheless upon deeper analysis, one can see that the whaler is not simply talking about whales. He is waxing about one’s look for dreams and the hopes for a better life, which one can invest a life time chasing without ever capturing those valuable dreams. On the other hand, those who remain real to the chase and never turn their back on the sea will eventually be rewarded by a harvest of fulfilled dreams.

… However lulled into such an opium-like apathy of uninhabited, unconscious reverie is this absent-minded youth by the mixing cadence of waves with thoughts, that at last he loses his identity …” Again the whaler mentions whales and why most of them are tough to find. The whaler speaks of those who lose themselves in the vastness of the sea because of their youth and lack of instructions. This maybe is a veiled cautioning to the young sailor that life can be deceptive and deceitful, and those who are too reckless may find themselves irretrievably lost.

…”Takes the mystic oceans at his feet for the visible image of that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature; and every unusual, half-seen, sliding, beautiful thing that avoids him …” Here the whaler explains why whales can get lost. The whales are tempted by negligent impulses to explore the unidentified. Attracted by the mysteries and charms of the deep, the whale may be coaxed into plunging into deep waters where he is not equipped with the capacity to survive. Whales, being mammals, need oxygen to breathe, and as such, they require to break the surface of the water every when in a while.

When whales go unfathomable or check out too far, their oxygen reserves might go out prematurely, and they lack air prior to they can swim to the surface. Young whales that are too reckless drown due to the fact that they succumbed to the temptations of the deep. On the other hand, older whales, smarter and more skilled, know how far they can go in the ocean. Again the whaler might very well be waxing about life, and how the impudence and lack of respect for the sea can lead sailors and whales alike to the everlasting accept of the ocean’s depths.

…”Every dimly-discovered, up-rising fin of some indiscernible kind appears to him the embodiment of those evasive ideas that only people the soul by constantly flitting through it.” This once again is an elaboration of the deceitful nature of appearances; that physical kinds almost always belie its true nature. Frequently the ones that come in the most attractive guises are those that are the most damaging in life, and whales, just like humans are lured just the exact same.

The passage discussed in this paper represents the really essence of what the book is about. It discusses youth and dreams, and how such can be quickly lost and wasted. It also discusses how whales, much like people, can fall into the impression of invincibility and fall victim to all kinds of temptations. The quote is also representative of man’s consistent struggle to comprehend and tame nature.

The whales, as explained by the veteran whaler, are plentiful, but given the vastness of the sea, are difficult to discover. The whales are also symbolic of all the important things that we are obsessed about, despite whether it is an useless chase or not. As Ishmael said, “There is, one understands not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently horrible stirrings appear to mention some surprise soul beneath …” (361) Perhaps, the whaler as he was saying those words is likewise waxing about his own life, and how it when was so filled with pledge. In the exact same token, he might likewise be talking about Captain Ahab and how he has actually lost himself in the empty pursuit of revenge. The line which describes how whales might be lost might be representative of Ahab’s own neglect for his life and those of his team; he is taken in with the desire to exact vengeance, and he will never discover rest until he satisfies the whale when again. In that sense he is lost and drowning in his blind obsession with revenge.

The passage encapsulates the incredible scope of Moby Cock as it tackles synchronised social, spiritual, and individual problems all in one novel. While the book is a story of adventure and a chronicle at sea, it is a tale of life and all the terrific and frightening aspects of it. That the quote being analyzed in this paper provides itself to so many interpretations speaks of the character of the novel itself. Moby Dick can be various things to various individuals. A person’s interpretation of the book also depends upon their current circumstance and their understanding of the story changes when their situation alters also.

Moby Dick is largely heterogeneous and mutable, continuously moving and redefining itself (Brodhead 4) and does not provide itself to be limited to a particular literary genre. And the reality that it succeeds at being evasive, is a part of the character of the novel itself. Like the elusive Moby Penis, the unique itself is indefinable in the immensity of its scope. However, while the unique takes on a myriad of themes, his option of the sea as the general setting is discussed in Ishmael’s words, “If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the very same sensations towards the ocean with me.” (14) Undoubtedly, the sea’s appeal is universal and it touches to some fundamental element of our typical mankind. By the sea, we feel intimations of our smallness and achievement all at the exact same time.

Indeed, the book Moby Cock is filled with veiled and not-so-veiled philosophical musings about life and living. The sea has actually constantly been thought about symbolic of life and its surprise significances and challenges. Moby Dick, while imaginary is not a product of the author’s imagination. Herman Melville knew what he was speaking about, having actually operated in a whaling ship when he was twenty-one years old.

Herman, similar to Ishmael, seems like an outsider of life, an outcast because of the scenarios of his lowly birth. It has frequently been stated that Ishmael is Herman’s alter ego, through which Herman was able to express himself and all his thoughts about his life. The sea in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick represents life, in all its magnificence and enormity and the beauty and dangers that lie in its surface area. Like Ahab, we all long to master our ship and triumph over the monsters of the deep. Not due to the fact that of sheer recklessness but since of our essential requirement to understand the unidentified.


Melville, Herman. Moby Dick. Plain Label Books. 1851. Retrieved on December 13, 2007 from Brodhead, Richard. New Essays on Moby-Dick. Cambridge University Press. 1986.