Herman Melville 's View On Religion Essay
05 May 2016
Herman Melville’s view on religion translated in Moby Dick
The first line of the novel suggests that the narrator wants to be called another name. It suggests that he was once known by a different name, but for the purpose of the story, there is another name that is presented to the reader. In a way Ahab can be referenced as a God. He always tests his crew’s loyalty to him and the ship. That being said, Ahab actually underwent something like a trial of Jonah or a Christ like death or burial. Elijah speaks of "that thing that happened to him off Cape horn, long ago, when he lay like dead for three days and nights" (87). But if this resulted in a rebirth, it was a birth out of Christianity. He desecrated a communion vessel and church altar and would conduct his own kind of pagan rituals on the Pequod. There is a suggestion that what he "saw" during this time hardened him just as what Pip "saw" while a castaway made him crazy. Of course, Ahab 's rage and monomania is the focus of the book 's action and dialogue and the reason for the Pequod 's destruction. His "rebirth" is self-destructive and not to be emulated.
Pip 's rebirth brings insanity. Pip could not handle being thrown overboard and his fear drives him insane. Just as Ahab admires the whale 's head for seeing the unseen, so he relates to Pip. He assumes Pip 's conversion was something like his own. Perhaps Pip does prophesy…