Thursday, April 7, 2016

Moby-Dick Ch. 82: The Honor and Glory of Whaling

The following is from a work-in-progress called "Moby Dick: a Book Report" in which I read each chapter of Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick, and write about what I read.

In this chapter, Ishmael reflects on some mythic/heroic figures who were associated with whales, like Perseus (who slew a sea monster/whale to save his love Andromeda), Jonah (the biblical prophet who was swallowed and then barfed up by a whale), St. George (who slew a dragon, which Ishmael thinks may have actually been a whale), Hercules (the Greek demi-god who, like Jonah, was also swallowed and then barfed up by a whale), and lastly the Hindu god Vishnu, who incarnated himself as a sea-creature.  Thinking about all these heroes and gods, Ishmael considers himself to be in good company, as a whale man: “Perseus, St. George, Hecules, Jonah, and Vishnu! There’s a member-roll for you!  What club but the whale man’s can head off like that!”

Perseus slays the sea monster.

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