Herman Melville

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Moby-Dick: Chapter 25 Summary & Analysis

Ishmael includes a brief addendum to his previous chapter, asking the reader whether he or she knows that oil is used to anoint the heads of kings when they are invested with the throne, and that, furthermore, the oil used for these services comes from the whale. This, Ishmael implies, is a testament to the inherent nobility of the act of whaling, and of the products whaling provides to humankind.
Another of Ishmael’s small fugues, or tangential descriptions. This time, Ishmael makes clear that whaling is not just metaphorically “royal”—it is, in fact, bound up with the ceremonies that constitute royalty itself, throughout the world.
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