Although Ishmael is the sole survivor of the Pequod, it is notable that in his own way, Ahab fulfills his desire for revenge by ensuring the destruction of the White Whale alongside his own end. Despite the seeming superiority of Ishmael's destiny, Melville does not explicitly indicate so. On the contrary, he subtly suggests that Ishmael's survival is lonely and empty upon being rescued: Melville's inclusion of Ishmael's survival as an epilogue, a suffix attached to the dramatic destruction of the Pequod, suggests that Ishmael's survival is an afterthought to the fate of Ahab and the rest of his crew.
Ishmael's quiet words at the beginning of the chapter, "Why then here does any one step forth? The question is then raised of why Ishmael is the sole survivor. It is clear that Ishmael significantly differs with Ahab concerning their respective perspectives of the White Whale. Ishmael clearly indicates in the chapter "The Try Works" how disagreeable he finds the mission and mentality of those around him: Ishmael further distinguishes himself from the rest of the crew by being the sole non-exploiter of whales in general.
Melville makes it clear early on that Ishmael initially chooses to ship on the Pequod for the experiential value of whaling. It has been indicated that his outlook on the whale is the only significantly benign one. Whereas Ishmael is terrified by the "whiteness of the whale," Stubb sees economic gain in the valuable whale oil, subtly hinted at by his overbearing gloating upon his first kill. In the harpooners, we see a violent savageness, even in Queequeg's otherwise loving nature.
To Ahab, the whale is a emblem of pure evil. Even prudent, rational Starbuck looks on the whale as a dumb animal, which it is his duty to exploit. The terror that Ishmael perceives is a consequence of his own vague fear of the whale's "nothingness. Ishmael is distinguished from the rest of the crew in his ability to consider the perspectives of the others. In his role as narrator, Ishmael's ability to detachedly analyze the viewpoints of those around him may be what saves him.
Note also, that in his narration, Ishmael is the one character to cast any reverence upon the grand scale of the whale. Unlike the values the others place on the whale, Ishmael is capable of viewing the whale solely for its being, as one of the many viewpoints that he considers through the course of the novel. In contrast, Ahab's views of the whale are singular and focused. Melville describes it as a "monomaniacal" obsession, but it is clear in Ahab's complexity that there are other factors at work.
Ahab remains virtually one-dimensional until the chapter "The Symphony," where he freely shares his feelings with Starbuck. In allowing us to see the subtle complexities of Ahab's obsession, Melville makes it clear that Ahab is not an inhuman machine of revenge.
When he is following his rituals for hours on end, he escapes to another world. All of these opinions formed are based on the physical looks of his character. Despite the fact that at first glance anyone would be terrified of this cannibal, he is one of the most outgoing and positive people in the book. For three minutes or more he was seen swimming. The poor bumpkin was restored. His interesting character builds a fascinating outlook of human emotions.
His characteristics are unique to him and yet common to humanity. The Pequod meets multiple ships in the story each of them represent a different culture of people.
Not only were the different ships unique in style and accents, but their views on life and whaling were greatly diverse as well. A great deal of irony was also in the meetings of the Pequod with the other ships. The ship that came from America was not even being manned by Americans.
The Delight had seen a tragic whaling attempt just a day prior and was now taking care of the last of the victims. This irony reflects mankind. The multiculturalism of all the different ships proved that we as humans are all connected. From the grand sea, to the microcosm of a single human being, he tells the epic story of a whale hunt, while artistically incorporating a countless number of subtleties that describe both the beauty and darkness of the counterpane of life.
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In Herman Melville's Moby Dick there is. In every great literary work there is a symbolic element that makes the author’s message more detectable to his readers. In Herman Melville’s Moby Dick there is the idea of the “counterpane” of humanity. Moby Dick Essay. By Lauren Bradshaw. August 10, Sample Essays. Why does he want revenge and against whom or what? He wants revenge against the great white whale known as moby dick because he lost his leg to it. 2. Who is the narrator of Moby Dick and what is the first line of the novel? The narrator is Ishmael and the first line says [ ].
Read this Miscellaneous Essay and over 88, other research documents. Moby Dick. The classical selection by Herman Melville, Moby Dick focused on the significance of one man's obsession over a murderous white /5(1). Essays and criticism on Herman Melville's Moby Dick - Critical Essays.