Moby-Dick Characters

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Ishmael

Ishmael is the main character of the novel and narrator of the story. While he introduces himself as Ishmael, it is unsure if this is his given name or one he has adopted for the story. Ishmael is a Biblical name associated with orphans and outcasts. It is the name given to Abraham's first son through the servant Hagar. Hagar and Ishmael are sent away to die when Abraham's wife Sarah become jealous of the two. God watches over and protects Ishmael and his mother, however, and the boy grows to be the father of the Islam faith. In much the same way, the Ishmael in the novel is watched over and protected, as he is the only one to survive the encounter with Moby Dick at the end of the novel.

Before Ishmael's whaling mission, he serves as a schoolmaster. He appears to be very studious in...

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This section contains 1,624 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Moby-Dick Study Guide
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Moby-Dick from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.