The Symbol Of White Whale In Moby Dick By Herman Melville

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Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, uses many symbols in the book to add more depth to the text. Symbols in a story can be interpreted differently by different people. The color of the whale in Moby Dick is a symbol that can be interpreted differently. The white whale can have obvious meanings such as innocence and purity. But to others the color white can symbolize power or a god-like appearance. In Moby Dick the white whale symbolizes God, nature, and purity as well as death.

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Throughout Moby Dick, the whale is given qualities often compared to God. Many people fear God just like they fear Moby Dick, like Ahab, who doesn’t really follow any religion. To Captain Ahab, the whale symbolizes all that is evil in the universe, and he becomes vengeful and must kill the whale. Some evidence from the text is ‘Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me.’ Because he is so obsessed with killing the whale ahab is going to kill himself and his crew members. Ahab convinces many of the men to kill the whale but starbuck and Ishmael are not on the same page as Ahab.

Ishmael has a very different interpretation of the whale. He associates the whale to nature because it is beautiful and wonderful.Nature has many symbols itself it can be beautiful but it can also bring terror. The author depicts the whale as being peaceful when he is swimming in the water. Once the crew stabs him with the harpoon he becomes violent and ends up killing more men.

The color white has many different meanings itself. To some the color white symbolizes purity and peace. To others it symbolizes death and power. Looking at Ahab’s perspective the whale is the animal that took off his leg which symbolizes evil. Because Ahab’s leg was removed the author tries to get us to interpret the whale as something that causes great violence. Something else he does is show us how peaceful the whale is miming until he is attacked. From this the author emphasizes that he color white can symbolize purity and peace, but it can also symbolize death and power.

Towards the end of the story the theme of death is something that is really emphasized. Some things that hint towards the death are the ships name and the coffin. The ships name is Pequod which was a native American tribe that lived in Massachusetts but died out after the colonists came. Another thing that suggest the theme of death is Queequeg’s coffin. He orders a coffin for him to be built because he has be n very sick for a while now. However, when the ship starts sinking the coffin is what keeps Ishmael above water and helps him return to safety. 

10 Jun 2021

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