Sign In. Edit Moby Dick Captain Ahab Richard Basehart Ishmael Leo Genn Starbuck James Robertson Justice
Analysis of the Major Characters from "Moby Dick"
How To Pronounce Pequod (Moby-Dick): Pequod (Moby-Dick) pronunciation + Definition
Still frequently assigned reading in school, " Moby-Dick " is a polarizing novel for many reasons: Its huge vocabulary, usually requiring at least a few trips to your dictionary; its obsession with 19th-century whaling life, technology, and jargon; the variety of literary techniques used by Melville; and its thematic complexity. Another reason the book intimidates, of course, is the cast of characters, which includes the dozens of crew members of the Pequod, many of whom have a role in the plot and symbolic significance. Melville actually worked on whaling ships in his youth, and his depictions of life on board the Pequod and the men who worked under Ahab have the ring of complex truth. Ishmael, the narrator of the tale, actually has very little of an active role in the story. Still, everything we know about the hunt for Moby Dick comes to us through Ishmael, and the success or failure of the book centers on how we relate to his voice. Ishmael is a lush, intelligent narrator; he is observant and curious and wanders into lengthy examinations of subjects that interest him, including the technology and culture of whaling , philosophical and religious questions, and examinations of the people around him. In many ways, Ishmael is meant as a stand-in for the reader, a man who is initially confused and overwhelmed by his experience but who offers that very curiosity and studious attitude as a guide to survival.
THE THEATER: A MUSICAL 'MOBY DICK'
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The son of a South Sea chieftain who left home to explore the world, Queequeg is the first principal character encountered by the narrator, Ishmael. The quick friendship and relationship of equality between the tattooed cannibal and the white sailor show Melville's basic theme of shipboard democracy as well as his fondness for Polynesians see Typee , Omoo and Mardi. Once aboard the whaling ship Pequod , Queequeg becomes the harpooner for the mate Starbuck. Near the end of the novel, he "casts the runes", which say he will die. The coffin is later converted to a lifebuoy after the ship's original one is lost.