Moby-Dick Themes

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The theme of free will is first addressed in the beginning of the novel where Ishmael indicates that he feels as if he has no choice but to go on the doomed whaling mission. The idea of free will is again addressed at the end of the novel where Ahab is close to finding Moby Dick. Although Ahab seems to understand the dangers associated with chasing the whale to the death, Ahab voices the opinion that he has no choice but to continue to follow the path of the whale.

In both places, Melville suggests that the futures of both of these characters are in the hands of someone or something other than themselves. In Ishmael's case, Ishmael credits his lack of free will to fate. He believes that sometime long ago it was predestined for him to be aboard the Pequod when the ship set out...

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This section contains 1,009 words
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Moby-Dick from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.