Moby Dick Summary
The book Moby Dick by Herman Melville is an epic story of the the whaling vessel called the Pequod along with its skipper Ahab who pursues the legendary Sperm Whale (the main character) on a voyage around the globe. The main character in the story is Ishmael who is an sailor aboard the Pequod, who embarks on the voyage out of passion for the ocean.
Moby Dick starts with the arrival of Ishmael in New Bedford as he travels towards Nantucket. He stays in Spouter Inn, which is located in New Bedford. Spouter Inn situated in New Bedford, where he encounters Queequeg who is a Harpooner who hails from New Zealand who will also travel along the Pequod. While Queequeg is a bit scary but his companions Ishmael are forced to sleep together , and the narrator gets to know the inhumane Harpooner. Queequeg has a father who is a high chief who emigrated from New Zealand because of his desire to study among Christians. On the next morning, Ishmael is at a worship service, and is captivated by a sermon given from Father Mapple, an internationally acclaimed preacher who gives the sermon on Jonah as well as the Whale. He concludes that the story is a lesson for preachers. Truth in the in the face of Falsehood.
On a schooner trip to Nantucket, Ishmael and Queequeg encounter an island bumpkin who is a mockery of Queequeg. When the bumpkin is carried overboard, Queequeg saves him. On Nantucket, Queequeg and Ishmael decide between three ships on an entire year’s journey and choose the Pequod. The captain on the ship, Peleg, is now retired and is the sole owner of the boat together with the other Quaker, Bildad. Peleg informs them about their new captain Ahab who immediately refers to him as a grand and ungodly fellow. Before they leave for their journey, Ishmael and Queequeg come to a person identified as Elijah Elijah, who has a prediction of catastrophe on their way. Prior to leaving to board the Pequod, Elijah again predicts the worst.
Ishmael and Queequeg are on board the Pequod which is where they find Captain Ahab remains undiscovered and secluded in his personal cabin. Peleg and Bildad talk to Starbuck Starbuck, the first partner. He is an Quaker also a Nantucket native, who is very practical. The second friend can be described as Stubb Stubb, who is a Cape Cod local with more of a relaxed and relaxed attitude. The third mate is Flask Flask, an Martha’s Vineyard native with a uncompromising attitude. Melville introduces the other members of the group as well as the Indian Harpooner Tashtego as well as the African Harpooner Daggoo.
After a few days of the voyage, Ahab finally appears as an individual made of bronze, who sits on an ivory leg made out of whalebone. He then is involved in a heated debate with Stubb when his second companion is laughing about Ahab’s expense and then kicks Ahab. This causes Stubb to fantasize about knocking Ahab’s ivory leg off, however Flask insists that the kick by Ahab is an act of respect.
Then, Ahab tells the crew of the Pequod to search for a whale that has a white head and wrinkled brows: Moby Dick, the famous whale that ate Ahab’s leg. Starbuck says to Ahab that his fascination with Moby Dick is a craze however, Ahab insists that everything is a mask and there’s an unknowable motive behind the mask man has to break through. According to Ahab, Moby Dick is the mask. Ahab himself is able to see his own depravity. Starbuck begins to fear that the ship has been beaten by the insane captain, and is aware that he could be the one to bring down Ahab.
As Queequeg and Ishmael create a sword-mat for securing their boat, Pequod quickly encounters the whale, and Ahab has his crew reassemble their boats. Ahab commands his special crew that Ishmael refers to as “phantoms,” to their boats. The crew is able to attack the whale, and Queequeg strikes the whale, but it is not enough to kill it. The most feared “phantoms” in the boat are Fedallah which is an evil Parsee.
After passing by the Cape of Good Hope, the Pequod is able to see another ship, the Goney (Albatross) Another ship traveling on the same route. Ahab asks if they’ve observed Moby Dick while the two ships go by however, Ahab is unable to hear his response. The mere movement of ships is not a normal thing to do as ships usually be gams, an encounter of two ship. The Pequod has an ‘gam’ with the second ship it meets and that is the Town-Ho.
Ishmael breaks his story to share an account that was relayed to him by the Town-Ho crew, the same way he’d tell the tale to his group of Spanish friends following his voyage along the Pequod. The story is about the close rebellion of the Town-Ho and the eventual battle in the face of Moby Dick.
The Pequod is able to defeat any whale that is encountered, as Stubb hits a whale with his Harpoon. However, when team members from the Pequod attempt to transport the whale inside the vessel sharks are able to strike the carcass, and Queequeg almost loses his grip while fighting them off.
The Pequod then comes across the Jeroboam which is which is a Nantucket ship that is afflicted by an epidemic. Stubb later recounts a tale of his experience on the Jeroboam along with a revolt which took place on the ship as a result of an Shaker prophet named Gabriel, who was aboard. A captain from the Jeroboam, Mayhew, warns Ahab about Moby Dick.
After slaying an Sperm Whale, Stubb next also kills the Right Whale. Though this isn’t part of the agenda of the ship, the Pequod seeks out the Right Whale due to the positive omens that come with the head of an Sperm Whale and the head of the Right Whale on the ship. Stubb as well as Flask discuss the rumor about the possibility that Ahab had sold his soul and soul to Fedallah.
The next ship the Pequod comes across comes from it’s the Jungfrau (Virgin) which is which is a German ship that is in dire require of petroleum. The Pequod faces off against the Virgin for a massive whale and the Pequod succeeds in defeating it. But the carcass of the whale is beginning to sink when the Pequod is trying to keep it in place and, as a result, the Pequod must leave it. The Pequod is then able to locate an extensive group of Sperm Whales and injures several of them, but only manages to capture one.
Stubb comes up with a scheme to defraud the next ship the Pequod encounters with, which is the French vessel Bouton-de-Rose (Rosebud) which is made of ambergris. Stubb informs the shipmates that the whales they’ve defeated are useless and could cause damage to their ship as well, and after the Rosebud abandons them, the Pequod will take them away in order to get the ambergris from one of the vessels.
After a few days of encountering Rosebud, a few days after spotting the Rosebud, a black young man aboard the vessel, Pippin, gets scared while lowering his boat after a whale . He then jumps from the vessel, becoming caught with the line of whales. Stubb criticizes him for being cowardly and informs him that he’ll be sent to sea if he does it again. If Pippin (Pip) performs exactly the same thing over and over again, Stubb remains true to his word. Pip only lives as a nearby boat rescues him. But, Pip loses his sanity following the incident.
The next ship the Pequod encounters it the British ship, the Samuel Enderby is announcing the arrival of Moby Dick however its crewman Dr. Bunger advises Ahab to let the whale be to its own devices. Then, Ahab’s leg is broken and the carpenter has to fix the broken leg. Ahab is a snarky jerk towards the carpenter. If Starbuck finds out that the casks are leaking and has caused an leak, he rushes to Ahab’s house to tell the situation. Ahab is not happy with Starbuck’s suggestions regarding the issue and is so furious that he tries to snare the musket at Starbuck. While Ahab advises Starbuck that there is only One God in the world of Earth along with a single Captain in the Pequod Starbuck assures Ahab that there is no threat to Ahab as Ahab is a sufficient threat to himself. Ahab is willing to follow Starbuck’s suggestion.
Queequeg gets sick from fever, and is threatening death, so he requests for a canoe that he will use as the coffin. The carpenter takes measurements of Queequeg to build his coffin. constructs it, but Queequeg is able to recover and claims that he would have to recover himself. Queequeg retains the coffin and utilizes it as an underwater chest.
After crossing at the Pacific Ocean, Ahab asks Perth the blacksmith to make the harpoon he wants to be used to fight Moby Dick. Perth makes a harpoon, which Ahab requires to be tempered by the blood of his pagan harpooners and then Perth baptizes the harpoon his name. Satan.
The next ship the Pequod encounters is the Bachelor of the Seas, one of the Nantucket ship Captain who claims that there is no Moby Dick. The following day after that, the Pequod is killed by four whales and at night, Ahab dreamed of hearingses. Ahab as well as Fedallah swear to defeat Moby Dick and fight the war And Ahab boasts of his immortality.
Ahab is forced to choose between an easy way to get past The Cape of Good Hope back to Nantucket or a more difficult path to find Moby Dick. Ahab is able to decide on his search. The Pequod quickly encounters an typhoon while traveling through the Pacific as it battles the storm, its compass is out of alignment. After Starbuck finds out, and makes his way to Ahab’s house to tell him, he discovers the old man sleeping. Starbuck contemplates shooting Ahab with his musket however, he is unable in the direction of shooting his Captain once the sound of Ahab screaming in his sleep “Moby Dick, I clutch thy heart at last.”
The next day following the typhoonhas passed, Ahab solves the issue using the compass in spite of the suspicion of his crew. The ship continues its journey. Ahab finds out that Pip is mad and provides his room to the poor kid. The Pequod comes across another vessel that is the Rachel and its captain, Gardiner is familiar with Ahab. He asks for the Pequod’s aid in locating Gardiner’s son who could get lost on the ocean. Ahab is adamantly opposed when he discovers there is Moby Dick is near. The last ship the Pequod encounters is the Delight which is recently spotted by Moby Dick and has nearly was destroyed in its collision to the whale. After locating Moby Dick Ahab recounts his experience from that was nearly forty years ago that day when he caught his first whale. He regrets the loneliness of his days at the ocean. Ahab admits to having pursued his prey more of an animal than a human.
The battle against Moby Dick is a three-day battle. The first day Ahab discovers the whale’s presence and the whaling vessels follow it. Moby Dick strikes Ahab’s vessel which causes it to sink. However, Ahab manages to escape the ordeal once Ahab reaches the boat of Stubb. Despite the first failure to defeat the whale Ahab chases Stubb for the second day. The next day it is the same fate. The second time Moby Dick takes Ahab’s ivory leg. Fedallah dies after he is caught within the lines of the harpoon, and is drowned. After the second attack, Starbuck chastises Ahab, warning him that his pursuit is blasphemous and impious. Ahab affirms the pursuit towards Moby Dick is unchangeably decreed and pursues it for the third day.
The threerd day following the assault against Moby Dick Starbuck becomes agitated after he agrees to the demands of Ahab, and Ahab says to Starbuck “some ships sail from their ports and ever afterwards are missing,” apparently acknowledging the ineffectiveness to his task. As Ahab and his crew arrive at Moby Dick, Ahab finally cuts the whale in the face with his harpoon, but the whale tries to tip Ahab’s boat. But, the whale hits into the Pequod that causes it to sink. In a suicidal swoop, Ahab throws his harpoon at Moby Dick, but gets caught in the line and sinks down along with it. Only Ishmael is able to escape this attack because he was lucky enough being on a whaling ship instead of the Pequod. He is eventually rescued by the Rachel while its captain searches for his son missing and is able to locate an orphanage that is not his own.