There are numerous characters in Moby Dick, but only a few of them
have any impact on the story. A common sailor named Ishmael is the
narrator. The book, however, focuses on Captain Ahab, the one-legged
commander of the whaling ship Pequod. Ahab has sworn to kill the
gigantic whale Moby Dick, who took away his leg. Starbuck is the
first mate of the Pequod. Queequeg, Tashtego, and Daggoo are the
The story begins with Ishmael becoming restless. He decides to go
out to sea on a whaling ship. In the port of New Bedford, he meets
and shares a room with a harpooner named Queequeg. The two of them
become close friends, and agree to ship out together.
The day after they reach Nantucket, Ishmael begins searching for a
whaling ship preparing to leave harbor. Out of three ships ready to
leave, he chooses the Pequod. The owners of the ship, Captains Peleg
and Bildad are excited to hear of Queequeg from Ishmael and gladly
let him join the crew. They are told the captain of the ship is
named Ahab. Peleg and Bildad say that he is a good man, but because
of some strange illness, he is confined to his cabin.
On Christmas day, and with Ahab still in his cabin, the Pequod sets
sail in the Atlantic. As the weather begins to warm up (several
months after leaving port), Ahab is finally seen on deck. The
strangest thing about Ahab is his leg. Instead of flesh and bone, he
has a white ivory peg leg.
As the weeks wear on, Ahab starts to become friendlier. One day, he
calls the crew before him. He tells them that the sole mission of
the Pequod is to kill Moby Dick. Moby Dick is a gigantic sperm whale
with a crooked jaw and a deformed forehead. He has never been
defeated, and has attacked and sunk entire ships. Ahab admits he
hates Moby Dick for taking his leg away, and wants revenge. The crew
agree to this challenge, and swear to hunt him down. The only who is
not excited about hunting down... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(1999, 10). Moby Dick by Herman Melville. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Moby-Dick-Herman-Melville-18134.html
"Moby Dick by Herman Melville" StudyMode.com. 10 1999. 10 1999 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Moby-Dick-Herman-Melville-18134.html>.
"Moby Dick by Herman Melville." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Moby-Dick-Herman-Melville-18134.html.