Moby Dicks Symbolism Essay, Research Paper
Throughout the whole story the white whale is not only depicted as a an unexplainable force of nature but is also given an almost divine quality , he is constantly compared to God, and as the people fear and revere God they also fear Moby Dick and whales in general.The Whalers of the town see the whales not as thier prey but they see them as thier advisaries.An advisary that equals and often times surpasses them in prowess.From the begining of the film we are confronted with the image of the whale as the personificaion of power and strength ,as Stubb says in the inn “If God where to be any fish he would be a whale.” From this qoute alone it is evident that the whale holds a great deal of power.It is also obvious that to confront a whale is
much like confronting mother nature or even God , in both situations the odds are stacked heavily against you.
It is apparent that Moby Dick is the personification of the wrathful persistancy of the Omnipotent , If not anywhere else this is most obviously displayed through the crews reactions
to the whale , and the mythical legends that arise about the whale.One of the first remarks made about the whale is “Aye, it was Moby Dick that tore my Body and soul until they bled into each
other.” This qoute , by Captain Ahab , describes the whale as not only having power to destroy in the physical realm but to also to mame in the spirtual world as well.The many biblical allusions in the story reinforced the notion that Moby Dick is an instrument of God if not God himself. Ahab having accepted the fact that the beast was much more than an animal still persists in his quest for vengence , this constant struggle between Ahab and the whale is similar to mans ongoing conflict with god.Like Ahab no matter how often or in what manner God makes his will known to us we always seem to stray a way from that.Here Ahab, or man, does not only ignore the will God but he also challenges it.Moby Dick stays true to the role of God , that is he only alows you to defy him for so long , before exercising his power to destroy without compassion.
Although there is clearly many things comparing Moby Dick to a god there is also a
strict contrast , Starbuck who is obviously a devoute christian is the only person on the Peqod
that seems to think that Moby Dick is nothing more than a whale, he says , “This whale is a dumb brute who acts out of instict.” Starbuck fails to see the power that most of the other sailors believe the whale has.Consequently Starbuck also seems to be the only one on the ship that hasn’t been tainted with the influence of paganism.Although the crew is mostly made up of
christians thier actions on the boat closely resemble that of polytheistic cultures.The blood oaths that they take is a good example , showing that they are more accepting of a whale being a god than just simply an animal.Starbuck throughout the story never doubts the fact that Moby Dick is only a whale, which is evident when he says, “I do not fear Moby Dick I fear the wrath of God”. Here Starbuck is saying that even though he doesn’t believe that the whale is anything more than a whale he does believe that the Almighty may be using Moby Dick as his vessel and thus by defying him they may be incuring the wrath of God.Another moment where Starbuck express his beliefs about the voyage is when he says , “Do ye not see that by serving Ahab we share in his blasphemy.”, saying that by obeying Ahab in his defiance of god that the entire
crew as insulted or aggravated God and by doing so have signed away thier souls.
Although Moby Dick was viewed as god , an unstopable force of nature and as simply a whale it is apparent that he represents more.He represents the unatainable aspriations of man , the founatin of youth that will cause a man to purge his soul and cast away his humanity to achieve it.But all actions that man does to achieve it ,they are all an exercise in futility.The simple fact is that in this life there are things that are meant for you and there are those things that aren’t , and to attempt the immposible is tempting fate.