"MOBY DICK" The Symbolism Of The Whale.
In Moby Dick, Herman Melville uses the whale to symbolize Humankind's inability to understand the world, to express the nature of human relationships, the concept or idea of God and environment. Melville seems to have an array of multiple symbolic meaning to the whale. I have found it difficult to follow through with one flowing theme.
Moby Dick is an unfriendly force, interpreted as a symbolic representation of God, an impassable and all powerful being that humankind can neither understand nor defy. Through out Moby Dick, the whale is given divine qualities and often compared to God. Just as many people fear God they also feared Moby Dick.
Moby Dick possesses an array of symbolic meanings for a variety of individuals.
To the crew of the Pequod, the whale is a legendary concept on to which they can transfer their anxieties about dangerous and often very frightening jobs. Because they have no delusions about the whale acting spitefully toward men or exactly embodying evil, tales about the whale allow them to face their fear, manage it and continue on. Ahab, on they other hand, believes that Moby Dick is a sign of all that is evil with the world, and he feels that it is his destiny to destroy this symbol of evil. In destroying the whale, Ahab is also destroying his own fears and evil that faces him in the world.
Melville shows that Moby Dick is capable of great violence. However, he also shows the whale living peacefully and tranquilly at sea until man attacks him. .
Ishmael tries an array of approaches to describe the whale, but none proves adequate. Ishmael is in awe of the whale. He sees Moby Dick quite differently; the whale is a representation of nature from its beauty and wonders to the terror and fear it can bring.
The color (White) of the whale is a symbol that can be interpreted differently. Ishmael begins his discussion of "whiteness" by noting its use as a symbol of virtue, nobility, and racial superiority.