Moby Dick:Herman Melville questions, and analyzes, the connections between Melville, Ahab, and modern religion

Essay by fitzsarah1High School, 11th gradeA+, February 2004

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Moby-Dick: Free Response Essay

DISCLAIMER: None of the opinions expressed below have been proven factual, and so are not to be considered as such. They are merely the conclusions drawn after reading and class discussions, nothing more.

Moby Dick is a novel of adventure, philosophical inquiry, and critique of society. The story, essentially, is the story of the crazy Captain Ahab and his quest to defeat the sperm whale, Moby Dick. In chapters twenty-eight through thirty-one, one is led to believe that Ahab is very much a God-figure in the microcosm of the Pequod.

Ahab is a dour, imposing man who frightens his crew through his unwavering obsession with defeating the Moby Dick, and through his hurbus. In many respects, Ishmael portrays Ahab as barely human, barely governed by human conventions, in complete subordination to his obsession. And, most importantly, Ahab is the supreme ruler on the Pequod.

All character information the reader has prior to these chapters has been garnered from hearsay; Ishmael's recounts of the hearsay have been influenced by prophets, most chiefly among them Elijah, although Pelleg and Bildad also have their own warnings to add to the lot of mysteries and rumors that surrounds Ahab. These prophets, as well as the awe-inspiring mystery that seems to emanate from Ahab, are comparable to those found in the Bible, in relation to Yahweh, and his powers.

The very manner of Ahab's presence, and eventual appearance, on board the Pequod is similar to the stories of the Bible, as everything seems to be timed perfectly to create the greatest effect possible. And despite the fact that it is the first time any of the crew have met him, they are all content to obey his commands; he is their captain, as though he were a king at...