The Destruction Of Ishmael In Herman Melville's Moby Dick

Improved Essays
At this point he has (presumably) already dealt with Ahab’s relation to the white whale. We are reminded of Ahab comparing Moby Dick to the wall, the mask that exists between the perceived world and whatever lies beneath the surface. Something is “pressing the pulse of the life that has seldom exhibited itself” (Whitman 3) into this surface. Yet Ahab expresses the fear that there might, after all, be nothing behind. That “there’s naught beyond” is exactly what Ishmael discovers in this chapter and it is also the chapter where Ishmael is most like Ahab, in that he approaches the subject obsessively and ruthlessly, much like the Captain himself chases after Moby Dick. Ishmael’s pursuit of the meaning of whiteness and Ahab’s pursuit of the white whale are placed here side by side. Why so, unless Ahab’s story is, in fact, Ishmael’s story, told so as to help the latter understand his own inner struggle? So Ahab would not be merely a projection, “mimicking ideas and images that Ishmael has already voiced” (Bryant 73), but he becomes the outlet for Ishmael to analyse and try to give a voice to his own experience. …show more content…
Ahab’s story is Ishmael’s story, retold by Ishmael himself in order to voice his own grief at a loss he is unable to account for in any other way—"I do not describe the wounded man, I myself become the wounded man" (Cambon

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Ishmael believes that "only on the profound unbounded sea, can the fully invested whale be truly and livingly found out. "(Melville 1277). In his opinion, seeking for this knowledge is more difficult and honorable than any other task. Ishmael questions "what ... the comprehensible terrors of man (are) compared with the interlinked terrors and wonders of God? "(Melville 909).…

    • 1024 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The Utilization of Literary Devices in the Characterization of Captain Ahab Herman Melville’s, Moby Dick, is the story about the journeys of a group of whalers led by the fearless Captain Ahab, and their quest to help the Captain get revenge on the great White Whale that once tore off his leg. Melville himself had once been a sailor and a majority of the book was inspired by the hardships he himself had faced at sea. The book is notorious for being very long, enigmatic, and filled with sailor jargon that ends up confusing the average reader. This being said, Moby Dick, is also known for being a classic and respected piece of literature. The book explored countless themes including, vengeance, instinct, wealth, greed, death, fear and religion.…

    • 1196 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Moby Dick reflects Herman Melville’s numerous experiences of some new perspectives: man against nature, good versus evil or fate opposed to free will. Melville’s masterpiece is a new light, where we can see a hope in a short, ridiculous, and irrational life. Moby Dick contains full of metaphor for life from the whaling ship and its captain- Ahab and his crews chasing a White Whale under the sea. Melville gives some clues about the perspective that are associated with his characters: Pip, Ishmael and Ahab. Melville believes each of person has their own perspectives on the working of Universe and the perspectives bases on one’s belief system, that no one will have same experiences and same thoughts.…

    • 1355 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Great Essays

    Soon after, he gathers his strengths and says, ““Bad news for you, fish,” he said and shifted the line over the sacks that covered his shoulders. He was comfortable but suffering, although he did not admit the suffering at all.”” He didn 't want to admit his suffering, he decided to remain with pride and that is what kept him going. Without his everlasting pride, he would have gave up and let the fish go. Santiago’s pride also motivates his desire to transcend the destructive forces of the sea. Throughout the novel, no matter how baleful his circumstances become, the old man exhibits an unflagging determination to catch the marlin and bring it to shore.…

    • 1776 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In fact, historian Brandy Schillace indicates the two different perspectives that they embody in this quote, “Loved and hated almost from the first, Moby Dick has become, in latter years, most primarily considered from two perspectives: The Religious Quest and the Man’s Quest…” (2012) Her statement emphasizes that these are two very distinct characters with Mapple’s religious aspect and Ahab’s quest against the whale. However, these men do not only represent the varying context between religion and humanity. Each represents either truth or falsehood, a dichotomy that Ishmael must determine. A deeper consideration of chapter 9 in Moby Dick reveals a parallel between Father Mapple and truth. “Delight is to him, who gives no quarter of the truth, and kills, burns, and destroys all sin though he pluck it out from under the robes of Senators and Judges.” (Melville 42) With his sermon, Mapple is urging people to search below the surface of falsehood in the world to uncover the truth beneath.…

    • 1411 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In The Heart of the Sea & Moby Dick In the Heart of the Sea, the true story of the historical adaption Moby Dick. Moby Dick, the critically acclaimed novel, in which a captain’s obsession with a monstrous whale radiates of to his crew. These two stories are both similar, yet different in ways to be told. The true question is can man survive the attacks nature has in store for both men in both stories. In the Heart of the Sea, the real life encounter of the famous Herman Melville’s story Moby Dick.…

    • 1237 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Ahab’s tone in the quarter deck speech shows he believes the feat can get accomplished, which seems pretty ambiguous and overconfident. The natural order of events of any whaling ship stands to pursue as many sperm whales as possible; however, Ahab muddles this for his personal agenda, thus visibly demonstrating Hubris to the Pequod’s…

    • 863 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The interesting voyages of Christopher Columbus will everlastingly be told and celebrated by many. Gloria Deák answers the inquiries concerning Columbus' noteworthy attempt to fill in the blank spaces on who he was, what he set out to fulfill, and where he succeeded. Deák depicts Columbus as an incredible mariner whose achievement in intersection the Atlantic Ocean was an unequaled feat of navigation. She goes on to clarify that almost no evidence is given to propose that he was the heroic Renaissance figure regularly portrayed in textbooks. She paints Columbus as a creative, fearless, and contained man of cruelty.…

    • 612 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The book has a psalm within itself to bring a new level of sadness with Jonah being in the whale. Literary aspects put Jonah in theses aspects especially the ones that need to look more deeply into Jonah such as it being possibly an analogy for justice versus mercy and God and his relationship with all people (Trible, 1994, p 484). Jonah being a narrative shows him and God as the main protagonist while everybody else except for the Nineties as minor characters (Trible, 1994, p. 474). There are instances of irony such as Jonah expressing God is the creator of land and sea while he is fleeing from God on the sea (Walton, 2006, p. 476). The plethora of literary details and techniques do not make up for the lack of historical context ,but elevates the story to being what it was intended to be great literature that gives emphasis on the Lord and his…

    • 2360 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, an unlucky angler named Santiago sets out on a boat to ascertain his luck and successfully reel in a marlin he finds. Most view Santiago as the main persona of the book, as the tale unfolds through his eyes. However, obstacles, circumstances and thoughts—those involving the old man and not—seem to revolve around one thing: the marlin he pursues. There is obviously no story without the marlin, but there is no Santiago without it, either. Firstly, the marlin mirrors Santiago.…

    • 423 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays