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Moby Dick By Herman Melville (1819 – 1891) Essay, Research Paper
Moby Dick, or, The White Whale is a book
of amazing depth. It can be read on several levels: for over a century
it has captivated young readers, naturalists, historians and literary scholars
alike. On the surface, it is both an adventure story set upon the high
seas and a compendium of information about whales and the whaling industry.
But the reader who searches more deeply discovers both a complex psychological
study and a powerful allegory dealing with the archetypes of good and evil
struggling together within the tenets of eighteenth-century Calvinism.
Melville wrestles in all his works with
man’s place in the cosmos, endeavoring to expose the unseen forces of the
universe and the effects of these forces on man. In Moby Dick, he recognizes
the power of both God and the Devil, and strains to comprehend their invisible
The great white whale symbolizes evil;
however, Ahab’s obsession to destroy the whale becomes an even darker manifestation
of evil. Thus, Melville reveals, with unerring skill and passion, a dilemma
that has plagued men and women since the garden of Eden.
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