Character Sketch: Queequeg

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Queegueg is a character of great contrast and ludicrous. Queegueg was first introduced in Chapter 2, by the main character Ishmael, who is also the narrator. Ishmael had the unfortunate obligation of having to share a room with this complete stranger. Ishmael was terrified upon the sight of Queegueg's large muscular body, his hand carved harpoon, the leopard tattoos that covered his body, his tomahawk pipe, and the dark-colored idol in his hand. He is especially afraid of the fact that Queegueg is a true cannibal. Oddly enough, Queegueg befriends Ishmael, and becomes almost inseparable in the book, almost like twin brothers (Melville 22). Queegueg was a highborn native of the South Seas, a native of Kovo. His father was a great chief, and his uncle a priest. Queegueg also worshipped Pagan Idols as a part of his religion. One day, a Sag Harbor ship visited his father's bay (Melville 56).

Queegueg took this excellent opportunity to get to America, a feat he always wanted to achieve. When he requested permission to go along with the ship, they refused the offer. Despite of this, he still wanted to go to America, by any means necessary. Queegueg jumped in his father's canoe and caught up with the Sag Harbor ship and climbed aboard. Since he was the son of a Chief, the seamen never tried to toss him overboard (Melville 57). Once he arrived to America, he tried his best to fit in with the native customs of the land. He wore their clothes, talked their language, and became a master harpooner. One thing Queegueg would never give up was his Pagan ways, vowing one day to return back to his homeland in the South Seas (Melville 58).