Book Analysis "Moby-Dick"

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Main Characters & Problems

In this book the key characters are both Ishmael and Ahab.  Ahab is the leading character of the play since he directs the unfolding of events. He is the dictatorial captain of the Pequod that is used for the course of whaling activity. His main problem lies in his vengeance for Moby-Dick. During one of the voyages the white whale Moby-Dick bit off his leg. Thus, he ensures an escapade with his team to find and destroy the whale.

He remains to be single-minded in the course of locating for the whale and goes ahead to promise awards in the case if the whale is killed by one of his crew members in the Pequod. Ahab believes that the white whale is an embodied form of evil that needs to be eliminated once and for all. This obsession leads to his misfortunes and the Pequod capsizes with all of the crew-members. 

Ishmael is considered to be one of the key characters of the story it happens to be that he is the narrator and also a participating junior member of the crew that had boarded Pequod. His leading role in the novel is depicted in the manner in which he ascertains the different events of the narrative in an eloquent and verbose discourse. His major problem lies in the assumption that he is obsessed with the whales and the whaling activity conducted in the course of the voyage. However, he fails to reveal most of his personal traits and then he concentrates on the unfolding the events of the story-telling.

Development of Conflict in the Story

The major conflict of the story revolves around Ahab’s desire to locate and destroy Moby-Dick: a white whale, responsible for biting-off his leg (Melville 76). This provides a fundamental platform upon which such conflicts as limited knowledge about the manner in which the white whale operates within the deeper depth of the ocean arises and later costs them their respective lives. Thus, it is ascertained that just like the ways of the Christian God, the ways of Moby-Dick are unknown and futile in nature. The efforts made by Ahab and his crew to interpret the ways of this unknown creature develop to be the center of conflict in the story.

Furthermore, it is fair to postulate that deception to put of fate by human characters causes a reason for the development of the conflict of interest. This is depicted by Ahab who relies on prophecies to control his vengeance quest. The other crew members are also confined to the elements of foretelling the future. This causes a conflict of interests on what approach to take and as a result, destiny catches up with them.

Importance of the Story-Setting

The story unfolds in a Pequod. The Pequod is on a mission to locate and destroy a white whale that has bit-off Ahab’s, the pequod’s captain, leg. The setting has been used to develop the different traits of the characters of the story. For instance, Ahab is depicted as a dictatorial type of a leader who embraces single-mindedness in his pursuit to locate the killer-whale. The setting also portrays both the elements of fate and destiny through which the elements of both foretelling and prophecies are apparent. This is depicted whenever Ahab and his crew rely on prophecies in matters for which they possess no control.  

Another significant element of the setting is that it is able to put in place people from different cultures and races working together for a common course. The Pequod is displayed as an island of equality as well as fellowship in the presence of racists’ individuals within a society. Ishmael realizes that he cannot cling to racial perceptions for the ship to steer forwards. He drops his negative attitude towards Qeequeg and realizes that he is better-off, despite his race, in comparison to other shipmates. Thus, the setting of the story has been used to depict the different elements of the conflicts which are considered to be one of the core themes of the story.

What Character Suffers the Most and What Is Learned From This Suffering?

Ahab suffers the most in the course of the story. First, he loses his leg because of Moby-Dick: a white whale that causes mysterious thing and nightmares that both he and the entire crew members see. He gains so much confidence in order to defy the element of common sense into believing that just like a god he can enact his desires and still remain immune to the different forces of destiny. After he loses his leg, he is made to believe that a whale is an embodiment of evil that needs to be eliminated. He uses his wealth to entice the crew members into locating the white whale and kill it. He also embarks on the use of foretellers and relies on the prophecies in order to increase his chances of killing Moby-Dick (Melville 23-56).

However, despite the fact that they are able to locate the creature and are determined to destroy it they succumb to their fate since the white whale overpowers them and leads to the capsizing of the Pequod. This was a very important lesson for him. The readers are made to understand the true powers of nature since the crew meet death whenever they seek to fight with unknown capacities of nature. Therefore, people have to remind that they cannot have any form of power to control the will of nature.

Theme of the Story

The overall theme of the story is vengeance of Ahab. It is safe to postulate that the assumption derived from him enhances the different events of the story. He assumes the role of a captain of the Pequod and leads his crew into finding the white whale with the intention of destroying it. Ahab uses any means possible within his reach to locate the creature and also he deploys numerous approaches for the same. He seeks the service of prophets as well as promises awarding prizes to those who will find and destroy the creature. His overwhelming zeal and single-mindedness do not allow him to heed to any form of advices from other crew members. This makes him a dictator who leads his subjects to their fate. He does not allow them the option to leave the escapade hence involves them in his quest for vengeance.

Who is Narrating this Story and Why?

Ishmael is the narrator of the story. He narrates the different events of the story in order to give the reader a clear and distinct picture of the unfolding events. He is also used by the author to bring about the clear picture of the setting for which the story unfolds. Thus, he plays a key role.

Images and Tone in the Story

The Pequod has been used as imagery of doom in the story.  Pequod is a name that was used for small extinct tribe in Massachusetts. Queequeg’s coffin has been used symbolically to represent life and death. It is built when he fell seriously ill to be used for his burial and later when he regains strength it is used for saving Ishmael’s life after Pequod capsized. The tone of the story remains to be vengeful in nature. The story revolves around the vengeance statements as well as actions contributed by both Ahab and his other crew members.

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