Ishmael And His Characters In Herman Melville's Moby Dick

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Comparing many of his characters with those from the Bible, Herman Melville, while using symbolism, told his fictional story by presenting his characters in the likeness of biblical persons. Because of his use of profound, biblical analyses from scriptural characters, Ishmael, the narrator of the story, proved to be a reliable source. In the Bible, Ishmael was the son of Hagar, the maidservant of Sarah, and although not technically an orphan, Ishmael and Hagar were sent away because of the tension that was between Sarah and Hagar. In Moby Dick, Ishmael left home to venture on the sea; even though he was not an orphaned child in the story, family was absent in his life. When he voyaged on the whaling ship, the crew became his new family, but when the Pequod sank, Ishmael was all alone, once again. Because of the symbolism between the biblical Ishmael and the fictional character Ishmael, this allowed the reader to see the heart of what Ishmael from Moby Dick looked like. He was accustomed to being a vagabond, and was familiar to that rapid style of life. In the Bible, Hagar named her son Ishmael, meaning “God hears.” (Genesis 16) The phrase “God hears” is evident in Ishmael’s life when he was the only one saved from the shipwreck at the end of Moby Dick. When Melville related these two people, it proved what kind of a person Ishmael was supposed to look like, and also helped to show the character traits and reliability in Ishmael. Toward the end of Melville’s story, a ship
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