Moby Dick Themes


Ahab as a Blasphemous Figure

A major assumption that runs through Moby Dick is that Ahab’s quest against the terrific whale is a blasphemous activity, even apart from the consequences that it has upon its crew. This blasphemy takes 2 significant types: the very first type of blasphemy to prevail within Ahab is hubris, the idea that Ahab thinks himself the equivalent of God. The second kind of blasphemy is a rejection of God completely for an alliance with the devil. Melville makes this point explicit throughout various episodes of the novel, such as the instance in which Gabriel warns Ahab to “think of the blasphemer’s end” (Chapter 71: The Jeroboam’s Story) and the appraisal of Ahab from Peleg in which he designates him as an ungodly male (Chapter 16: The Ship).

The concept that Ahab’s quest for Moby Penis is an act of defiance toward God assuming that Ahab is supreme first takes place before Ahab is even introduced throughout Dad Mapple’s sermon. The lesson of the preaching, which worries the story of Jonah and the whale, is to alert versus the blasphemous idea that a ship can carry a guy into regions where God does not reign. Ahab parallels this concept when he compares himself to God as the lord over the Pequod (Chapter 109: Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin). Melville enhances this concept through the prophetic dream that Fedallah tells Ahab that causes Ahab to conclude that he is never-ceasing.

However, a more troubling type of blasphemy likewise emerges during the course of the book in which Ahab does not merely think himself supreme, however aligns himself with the devil throughout his mission. Ahab remains in cooperation with Fedallah, a character reported by Stubb to be the devil himself, and when Ahab receives his harpoon he asks that it be baptized in the name of the devil, not in the name of the dad.

The Whale as a Sign of Unparalleled Greatness

When Melville, through Ishmael, describes the Sperm Whale during the lots of non-narrative chapters of Moby Penis, the concept that the whale has no parallel in quality repeats as an almost labored point. Melville approaches this theme from a variety of standpoints, whether biological or historic, in order to prove the supremacy of the whale over all other animals. Throughout a variety of events Melville relates whaling to royal activity, as when he notes the strong devotion of Louis XVI to the whaling market and thinks about the whale as a delicacy suitable for just the most civilized. In extra, Melville points out the Indian legends of Vishnoo, the god who ended up being incarnate in a whale. Even when talking about the whale in simple visual terms Melville lauds it for its features, devoting an entire chapter (42) to the whiteness of the whale, while degrading those artists who wrongly portray the whale.

The theme of the excellence of the whale serves to position Ahab’s mission versus Moby Cock as, at best, a virtually insurmountable task in which he is destined failure. Melville constructs the whale as a figure that can not be easily overcome, if it can be defeated at all.

The Whale as an Undefinable Figure

While Melville uses the whale as a sign of quality, he also withstands any actual analysis of that excellence by refusing to correspond the types with any concrete item or idea. For Melville, the whale is an indefinite figure, as best shown in “The Brightness of the Whale” (Chapter 42). Melville defines the brightness as lack of color and thus discovers the whale as having a lack of significance. Melville reinforces this property that the whale can not be defined through the various stories that Ishmael informs in which scholars, historians and artists misinterpret the whale in their respective fields. Certainly, the prolonged conversation of the numerous elements of the whale likewise serve this purpose; by detailing the various aspects of the whale in their many kinds, Melville makes the whale an even more inscrutable figure whose essence can not be explained through its history or physiognomy.

The repeating stopped working efforts to find a concrete definition of the whale leave the Sperm Whale, and Moby Penis more particularly, as abstract and without any concrete significance. By permitting the whale to exist as a strange figure, Melville does not pin the whale down as a simple metaphorical parallel, however rather leaves a multiplicity of various interpretations for Moby Dick.

A more tailored analysis for the thematic significance of the failure to specify the whale relates to Ahab’s comparison of Moby Dick to a mask that obscures the unidentified reasoning that he looks for. In this interpretation, the inability to specify a whale is substantial not in itself, however due to the fact that it stands in the way of greater thinking and understanding.

Moby Dick as a Part of Ahab

Throughout the unique, Melville develops a relationship between Ahab and Moby Penis regardless of the latter’s absence until the final 3 chapters through the reoccurrence of components producing a close relationship in between Ahab and the whale. The most significant of these is the real physical presence of the Sperm Whale as part of Ahab’s body in the kind of Ahab’s ivory leg. The whale is a physical part of Ahab in this circumstances; it is literally a part of Ahab. Melville likewise develops this style through the exceptional sense that Ahab has for the whale. Ahab has a nearly psychic sense of Moby Cock’s existence, and more tragically, the concept of Moby Dick perpetually haunts the formidable captain. This style serves in part to better discuss the depth of feeling behind Ahab’s mission for the whale; as a living existence that haunts Ahab’s life, he feels that he must advance his mission no matter the expense.

The Contrast between Civilized and Pagan Society

The relationship between Queequeg and Ishmael throughout Moby Cock normally highlights the common contrast between civilized, specifically Christian societies and uncivilized, pagan societies. The continued contrasts and contrasts between these 2 kinds of societies is typically beneficial for Melville, particularly in the discussion of Queequeg, the most idealized character in the novel, whose uncivilized and enforcing appearance just obscures his actual honor and civilized disposition. In this respect, Melville is fit simply to deconstruct Queequeg and location him in totally supportive terms, finding the characters from civilized and from uncivilized societies to be virtually identical. Nevertheless, Melville does not consist of these thematic elements just for a lesson on other cultures; a recurring theme equates non-Christian societies with wicked behavior, particularly when in referral to Ahab. Ahab specifically chooses the 3 pagan characters’ blood when he wishes to temper his harpoon in the name of the devil, while the most certainly corrupt character in Moby Cock is conspicuously the Persian Fedallah, whom the other characters believe to be Satan in camouflage. With the exception of Queequeg, corresponding the pagan characters with Satan does line up with the basic religious overtones of the unique, one which presumes Christianity as its basis and moral ground.

The Sea as a Location of Shift

In Moby Cock, the sea represents a transitional location in between two distinct states. Melville reveals this early when it comes to Queequeg and the other Isolatoes (Daggoo and Tashtego), who represents the transition from uncivilized to civilized society unbound by any particular citizenship, but in a frustrating quantity of cases this transitional style relates to the precarious line in between life and death. There are a number of characters who teeter at the brink between life and death, whether actually or metaphorically, throughout Moby Cock. Queequeg once again proves to be an example: throughout his disease he prepares for death and in fact remains in his own coffin awaiting health problem to surpass him, but it never ever does (Chapter 110: Queequeg in his coffin). The coffin itself becomes a transitional element several chapters later on when the carpenter converts it into a life-buoy and it hence comes to represent both the conserving of a life and the end of one (Chapter 126: The Life-Buoy).

Several of the small characters in Moby Cock likewise exist in highly transitional states in between life and death. After Pippin leaps to his death from the whaling boat and is conserved just by possibility, he loses his peace of mind and behaves as if a part of him, the “infinite of his soul” had actually already passed away; basically, the character becomes a shell of a person awaiting death. Melville even more elaborates this theme through the blacksmith, who deals with the sea mainly as a way to leave life. He began his journey to get away from the features of life after his family had actually died, and exists on sea primarily as a passage prior to his eventual death.

Harbingers and Superstition

A repeating style throughout Moby Cock is the look of harbingers, superstitious and prophecies that foreshadow an awful end to the story. Even before Ishmael boards the Pequod, the Nantucket complete strangers Elijah warns Ishmael and Queequeg against taking a trip with Captain Ahab. The Parsee Fedallah likewise has a prophetic dream concerning Ahab’s mission versus Moby Penis, dreaming of hearses (although he misinterprets the dream to suggest that Ahab will definitely eliminate Moby Cock). Indeed, the characters are bound by superstition and misconception: the only reason that the Pequod kills a Right Whale is the legend that a ship will have good luck if it has the head of a Right Whale and the head of a Sperm Whale on its opposing sides. An extra precursor of doom found in Moby Cock takes place when a hawk takes Ahab’s hat, therefore recalling the story of Tarquin and how his partner Tanaquil forecasted that it was a sign that he would end up being king of Rome.

The function of these omens throughout Moby Cock is to develop a sense of inevitability. Even from the beginning of the journey the Pequod’s mission is doomed by Captain Ahab, and the invocation of numerous omens serves to enhance this mission with a sense of magnificence and destiny. It is no suicide mission that Ahab undertakes, however a grand recklessness of hubris.