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Moby-Dick Themes & Symbolism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 139 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Moby-Dick.
This section contains 1,154 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
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Significant Topics

Individual vs. Nature

The voyage of the Pequod is no straightforward, commercially inspired whaling voyage. The reader knows this as soon as Ishmael registers as a member of the crew and receives, at secondhand, warnings of the captain's state of mind. Ahab, intent on seeking revenge on the whale who has maimed him, is presented as a daring and creative individual, pitted against the full forces of nature. In developing the theme of the individual (Ahab) versus Nature (symbolized by Moby-Dick), Melville explores the attributes of natural forces. Are they ruled by chance, neutral occurrences that affect human characters arbitrarily? Or do they possess some form of elementary will that makes them capable of using whatever power is at their disposal?

God and Religion

The conflict between the individual and nature brings into play the theme of religion and God's role in the natural world. The critic Harold...

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This section contains 1,154 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Moby-Dick Study Guide
Copyrights
Moby-Dick from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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