Moby Dick Essay

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Letong
 Yang
  Mr.
 Smith
  AP
 English
  01/11/2013
 
 

 
 
 
 “May
 the
 resurrection
 and
 the
 life
 -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐
 Brace
 forward!
 Up
 helm!”
 The
 captain
 of
 the
  Pequod,
  Ahab,
  at
  this
  moment,
  is
  finalizing
  the
  preparation
  for
  attacking
  the
  godlike
  White
  Whale
  -­‐-­‐
  Moby
  Dick.
  This
  episode
  epitomizes
  Ahab’s
  obsession
  with
  overcoming
 the
 power
 of
 God
 (as
 symbolized
 by
 Moby
 Dick).
 Throughout
 his
 entire
  journey,
 Ahab
 refuses
 to
 succumb
 to
 this
 supernatural
 force,
 and
 his
 only
 goal
 is
 to
  defeat
  his
  nemesis,
  Moby
  Dick.
  However,
  what
  Ahab
  doesn’t
  admit
  is
  that
  he,
  as
  a
  human
 being,
 is
 minute
 and
 helpless
 in
 front
 of
 this
 omnipotent
 force
 because
 he
 is
  just
  one
  more
  of
  God’s
  creations;
  moreover,
  he
  is
  a
  mortal,
  while
  Moby
  Dick
  is
  a
  godlike
 immortal.
 
 As
 a
 religious
 allegory,
 Herman
 Melville’s
 Moby-­‐Dick
 shows
 that,
  however
 obsessed
 with
 power
 and
 destruction
 Captain
 Ahab
 may
 be,
 his
 attempt
 is
  futile:
 Moby
 Dick
 as
 a
 symbol
 of
 the
 power
 of
 God
 is
 too
 large
 for
 a
 human
 being
 to
  conquer;
 human
 beings
 are
 fated
 to
 die.
 
 
 
 
 
 Throughout
  the
  novel,
  Melville
  portrays
  Moby
  Dick
  as
  a
  symbol
  of
  supernatural
  force.
  In
  fact,
  people
  often
  view
  him
  with
  awe
  because
  there
  are
  “various
  and
  not
  unfrequent
 instances
 of
 great
 ferocity,
 cunning,
 and
 malice
 in
 [Moby
 Dick’s]
 attack”
  (Melville
 165).
 One
 reason
 why
 Moby
 Dick
 is
 regarded
 as
 powerful
 is
 that
 he
 exists
  almost
  everywhere
  in
  the
  sea.
  He
  has
  actually
  been
  “encountered
  in
  opposite
  latitudes
  at
  one
  and
  the
  same
  instant
  of
  time”
  (Melville
  197).
  Another
  feature
  associated
 with
 Moby
 Dick
 is
 his
 immortality.
 He
 has
 an
 indestructible
 skin–
 “though
 

Moby-­‐Dick
 Essay
 
 

groves
  of
  spears
  should
  be
  planted
  in
  his
  flanks,
  [he]
  would
  still
  swim
  away
  unharmed”
 (Melville
 198).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Since,
  as
  Melville
  characterizes,
  Moby
  Dick
  is
  not
  only
  “immortal”
  but
  also
  “ubiquitous”
  in
  nature
  (198),
  human
  beings
  will
  naturally
  associate
  him
  with
  God.
  Thornton
  Booth,
  in
  his
  Standing
 up
 to
 God,
  ascribes
  this
  expected
  connotation
  to
  the
  “basis”
  that
  is
  “the
  most
  primitive,
  the
  most
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