The Symbolism Of The Whale In Moby Dick

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There are many whales in the sea, but this particular whale called Moby Dick is the desirable catch for the whalers and captain due to its legendary proportions. In the novel, Moby Dick, it offers an allegorical story of humanity’s dangerous search for meaning. The monstrous, white whale represents that “meaning” humans have been hunting for their entire lives, but at the end one will discover that one can do so much but still end up not finding their answer. The entire plot to Moby Dick is directed towards the final confrontation between Ahab, his crewman and the White whale. At the end, the whale wins the fight and the rest of the crew on ship all die, demonstrating the fact that the whale cannot be defeated, hence signaling how the laws…show more content…
The whale is white and for Ishmael, whiteness can represent both good and evil, which appalls him because there is no clear answer to what white ultimately means. Ishmael states how many cultures around the world associates whiteness as a sign of nobility, royalty or leadership, but at the same time, whiteness holds this other dimension that links to the spiritual world. He points how the white holds a supernatural quality due to the absence of color and its rarity to find white in its purest form in nature, thus emphasizing the point that the whale is an element that is not seen and is unclear because it cannot be found anywhere on earth due to its hue. This supports how Moby Dick is not found in years because his color is a rarity in nature, it is difficult to find a species of that form in the ocean. It is because, “…that its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way?” (Melville 216). Ishmael is indicating that both the appealing and frightful quality of white is what inspires the search for a significance because humans have this drive within themselves to find an answer, they will go to the greatest depths…show more content…
For the characters in Moby Dick, they have trouble objectively understanding the white whale. Ahab believes Moby Dick represents evil, while Ishmael fails to determine scientifically the whale’s fundamental nature. Ahab sees the whale as a manifestation of that is wrong in the world and accepts that he must destroy this symbolic evil. Ishmael does not understand the meaning behind Ahab’s quest and his purpose to kill the whale as he sees whales as peaceful creatures. Ishmael states, “And thus, though surrounded by circle upon circle of consternations and affrights, did these inscrutable creatures at the centre freely and fearlessly indulge in all peaceful concernments; yea, serenely revelled in dalliance and delight” (Melville 433). Ishmael view on whales contradicts Ahab’s perspective, which can indicate how different Ishmael is compared to the rest of the characters. Ishmael’s main reason to go on a ship and set sail was to escape from the world, “But even so, amid the tornadoed Atlantic of my being, do I myself still for ever centrally disport in mute calm…there I still bathe me in eternal mildness of joy” (Melville 433). Ishmael can find peace and joy in the middle of the ocean, even in the midst of chaos, he enjoys being out in nature. This can be a reason why Ishmael can see the tranquility in whales

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