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Moby Dick And Its Biblical Allusions

1287 words - 6 pages

"Biblical Aspect of Moby Dick"4/5/02Moby Dick is a novel filled with many biblical allusions, and I feel strongly that there are certain characters in the book that portray biblical characters or express the same situations in the Bible. In the beginning of the book, Father Mapple gives a sermon to the sailors about Jonah and the whale. This story in itself has much symbolism and starts the book off with the notion that God and the Bible are very much a part of the story. In specific there are a few main characters that support the fact that they are symbolic to the Bible.First, Ishmael is the main character in the story and is the narrator through most of the book. He is very different from ...view middle of the document...

To Ahab, Moby Dick is the highest of all evil. To Starbuck, the chase after the whale is a fruitless cause. To Ishmael, the whale defines mystery, unexplainable, and holiness. Moby Dick's whiteness can be linked with holiness and godliness, such as Revelation 1:14, " His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;" Much of revelation involves the color white, which has been historically a holy color and a color of prosperity as described in Ishmaels in-depth description of the indescribable whiteness that he saw when he caught sight of Moby Dick. Another excerpt of Revelation shows the importance of white in the Bible, Revelation 4:4) "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting , clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold." Ishmael tries to describe whiteness as, "which at times by its intensity completely overpowered all the rest; and yet so mystical and well nigh ineffable was it, that I almost despair of putting it in a comprehensible form. It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me. But how can I hope to explain myself here; and yet, in some dim, random way, explain myself I must, else all these chapters might be naught." So it seems as if the whiteness was the same indescribable thing as is the whiteness John saw in his Revelation, which he wrote for the Bible. We know Moby Dick is indestructible and like God, nobody can touch him. So can we conclude Moby Dick represents God? I think that is one of the mysteries that Melville leaves the reader to unfold on their own. He is symbolically the great divine mystery.Captain Ahab could be taken in different ways, such as good or evil. In this case he would be evil considering he has the same name as King Ahab in the Bible. Ahab is like no other character in the book. At times, he lacks compassion or even certain aspects of a complete personality, but maybe the determination of his goals (revenge on Moby Dick) compensates for his lack of personality. Captian Ahab isn't just after the bulbber and oil of the whale, but he is after the glory and the sense that he can conquer everything. The thing that keeps his engine running after Moby Dick is the fact that there is something greater than him, the "Great" Captain...

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