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A Discussion Of “The Three-Stranded Allegory Of Moby-Dick”

2 Pages 567 Words

In 1971, an article appeared entitled “The Three-Stranded Allegory of Moby-Dick was published by Allen Austin. The essay has as its purpose to familiarize the reader with the difference of character between Ahab and Ishmael in Moby-Dick.
Herman Melville uses the main characters of Moby-Dick to begin the use of symbolism. Ahab believes that his material objects possess spiritual guidance. This belief causes him to believe his hunt will be successful. The idea of his hunt is based on this assumption. Ahab’s supernaturalism causes the reader to immediately grasp the difference in Ishmael. “Ahab pushes this idea of ‘intelligent malignity’ to the point of madness, accepting wholeheartedly the belief of the transcendentalists that the outward world is a symbol of spiritual reality.” Ishmael believes Ahab’s madness is caused by illumination.
Ishmael comes to sympathize with Ahab’s view bud does not share in his beliefs. “Ishmael, in spite of a feeling of identity with Ahab, is convinced that man can expect only death from an indifferent universe.” Ishmael also believes Ahab will be a failure in his hunt for Moby Dick. Ahab believes Ishmael to be on the verge of madness. “Although he feels threatened by a wisdom that is woe, he feels threatened by a woe that is madness.”
“The distinction between woe and madness parallels the distinction between Ahab’s and Ishmael’s attitudes toward Moby Dick.” “It represents the terror of death-manifested in the polar bear, the white shark, the White Squall, the marble pallor of the aspect of death, and the pallid hose on which Death rides.” The White Squall comes to symbolize to Ishmael the destructive principle at the beginning of existence. The world can not be happy with life’s disappointments, but creates a dream that drags out its repulse.
“If as Ishmael says, significance lurks on all things, it is the significance of sothingness, of ...

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