Herman Melville’s Moby Dick

This paper discusses Herman Melville’s Moby Dick on its literal level and on its allegorical abstract level by focusing on the function of imagery.

A great deal of Herman Melville’s passion was in Moby Dick while he wrote the book. In December, 1850, he wrote to his friend Duycknick: I have a sort of sea.feeling. My room seems a ship’s cabin; and at nights when I wake up and hear the wind shrieking, I almost fancy there is too much sail on the house, and I had better go up on the roof and rig in the chimney.

That a great deal of Ahab’s passion was also in Melville while he created Moby Dick is indicated by the statement made by Melville to Hawthorne that he had written an evil book, a book that was baptized, like Ahab’s harpoon, in the name of the Devil, although Melville conversely came away from the task feeling, he said, as innocent as a lamb.

The imagery of constraint, frustration, and the obscure mystery of frustration is so pervasive in Moby Dick that one is …