Moby-Dick

Moby-Dick

Moby Dick Character Analysis

The novel’s antagonist, Moby Dick is a white whale, wild and lethal, hunted by many and killed by none. No one in the novel, not even Ahab, succeeds in catching the whale, and Moby Dick eventually destroys the Pequod and nearly all its crew. Moby Dick is seen by the characters as both a monstrous whale and as a symbol, or stand-in, for fate, divine power, or God himself.

Moby Dick Quotes in Moby-Dick

The Moby-Dick quotes below are all either spoken by Moby Dick or refer to Moby Dick. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Moby-Dick published in 2002.
Chapter 1 Quotes

The whaling voyage was welcome; the great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open, and in the wild conceits that swayed me to my purpose, two and two there floated into my inmost soul, endless procession of the whale, and, mid most of them all, one grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air.

Related Characters: Ishmael (speaker), Moby Dick
Related Symbols: The White Whale
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 36 Quotes

It’s a white whale, I say . . . a white whale. Skin your eyes for him, men; look sharp for white water; if ye see but a bubble, sing out.

Related Characters: Ahab (speaker), Moby Dick
Related Symbols: The White Whale
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 41 Quotes

For one, I gave myself up to the abandonment of the time and the place; but while yet all a-rush to encounter the whale, could see naught in that brute but the deadliest ill.

Related Characters: Ishmael (speaker), Moby Dick
Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 71 Quotes

Think, think of thy whale-boat, stoven and sunk! Beware of the horrible tail!

Related Characters: Gabriel (speaker), Moby Dick
Related Symbols: The White Whale
Page Number: 344
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 100 Quotes

He’s welcome to the arm he has, since I can’t help it, and didn’t know him then; but not to another one. No more White Whales for me; I’ve lowered for him once, and that has satisfied me.

Related Characters: Boomer (speaker), Moby Dick
Related Symbols: The White Whale
Page Number: 482
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 133 Quotes

Men, this gold is mine, for I earned it; but I shall let it abide here till the White Whale is dead; and then, whosoever of ye first raises him, upon the day he shall be killed, this gold is that man’s, and if on that day I shall again raise him, then, ten times its sum shall be divided among all of ye! Away now!

Related Characters: Ahab (speaker), Moby Dick
Related Symbols: The White Whale
Page Number: 602
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Moby Dick Character Timeline in Moby-Dick

The timeline below shows where the character Moby Dick appears in Moby-Dick. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 36: The Quarter-Deck
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...to the mast of the Pequod). Tashtego, Daggoo, and Queequeg wonder aloud if this isn’t Moby Dick, the same whale that bit off Ahab’s leg, and Ahab agrees, saying that all... (full context)
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...and mates together, to place their harpoons and hands together, and to agree to hunt Moby Dick to the end of the earth. Starbuck is concerned by the strangeness of this... (full context)
Chapter 37: Sunset
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...that, although Starbuck appears worried about the Pequod’s new mission, Ahab will exact revenge against Moby Dick, and “dismember” his “dismemberer.” Ahab vows that “the path to his fixed purpose is... (full context)
Chapter 38: Dusk
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...himself that Ahab is a madman, that nothing good can come of his obsession with Moby Dick, and that the crew now has come around to Ahab’s cause and is acting... (full context)
Chapter 40: Midnight, Forecastle
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...of wild celebration they say is brought on by Ahab’s exhortation to them (to kill Moby Dick), and by the wine Ahab has had them drink. A Spanish sailor gets into... (full context)
Chapter 41: Moby Dick
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...that night, and that he was caught up in the excitement surrounding the pursuit of Moby Dick, which he initially supported. Ishmael states that, because it is often difficult for sailors... (full context)
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Ishmael goes on to say that some sailors believe Moby Dick to be immortal, incapable of being killed. Ishmael says that Moby Dick is notable... (full context)
Chapter 42: The Whiteness of the Whale
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Ishmael uses this chapter as a space to muse upon the whiteness of Moby Dick, which he believes to contribute to that whale’s strange dread power. Ishmael states that,... (full context)
Chapter 44: The Chart
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...own chambers, consulting several nautical charts of the “four seas,” and collating information on where Moby Dick had been spotted previously by other ships. Although Ishmael indicates that it might seem... (full context)
Chapter 45: The Affidavit
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...in a court of law, to make clear to the reader that the story of Moby Dick is grounded in truth and isn’t an utter fabrication. Ishmael avers that whales have... (full context)
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...been hunted after numerous attempts and successfully killed—in the same manner Ahab hopes to kill Moby Dick. Ishmael says that “landsmen,” or people who are not sailors, do not understand just... (full context)
Chapter 46: Surmises
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Ishmael here writes that, although Ahab is singularly devoted to the catching and killing of Moby Dick, still he is “not unmindful” of the normal purpose of a whaling ship, which... (full context)
Chapter 48: The First Lowering
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...something to do with Ahab’s desire to use all power necessary to find and kill Moby Dick. (full context)
Chapter 51: The Spirit-Spout
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...spout, and believes it, along with many of the crew, to be a sign of Moby Dick, the Pequod gets no closer to it, and soon leaves the calm waters and... (full context)
Chapter 52: The Albatross
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...fish are afraid of the Pequod’s mission to sail around the world in search of Moby Dick. The two boats part, with Ahab yelling to the other captain, who still cannot... (full context)
Chapter 54: The Town-Ho’s Story
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...is about to put his plan in motion, a crew member raises the call that Moby Dick, the white whale, has been spotted not far off. The crew of the Town-Ho... (full context)
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...goes out on a whale-boat with Radney, who is tossed from the small boat once Moby Dick is hooked on a line. Moby Dick then eats Radney, leaving only Radney’s torn... (full context)
Chapter 59: Squid
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...they realize it is only a giant squid—a rare sight even for experienced whalemen—and not Moby Dick. Ahab is disappointed and returns to the Pequod, although others on the boat understand... (full context)
Chapter 71: The Jeroboam’s Story
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...took to Gabriel’s advice and considered him a true man of God. Gabriel announced that Moby Dick was the Shaker God itself, and that no one ought to kill it. (full context)
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As if to demonstrate this, Moby Dick was then spotted off the Jeroboam’s side, and a team was mounted to hunt... (full context)
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...during a gam between the two boats, but states that he will still seek out Moby Dick (over Gabriel’s loud objections). Starbuck finds a letter among the Pequod's sack for Macey,... (full context)
Chapter 80: The Nut
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...indomitability,” and Ishmael then comments that this "air" is in fact true—the sperm whale, especially Moby Dick, is almost impossible to defeat or capture. (full context)
Chapter 96: The Try-Works
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...try-works represent the dark, burning heart of Ahab himself, and of the quest to find Moby-Dick. Ishmael falls into a dream-state, and wakes up with his back to the ship, looking... (full context)
Chapter 99: The Doubloon
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...nailed to the main-mast on the day he challenged the Pequod to find and kill Moby Dick. Ahab himself sees in the doubloon “infernal” signs—marks of the devil and of Ahab... (full context)
Chapter 100: Leg and Arm
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Boomer tells Ahab that the Sammy pulled up alongside Moby Dick along the Line (the equator), and noting that the White Whale was large and... (full context)
Chapter 106: Ahab’s Leg
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...the groin—and Ahab began cursing the ivory leg as an extension of the cruel animal, Moby Dick, who took away Ahab’s real leg in the first place. (full context)
Chapter 111: The Pacific
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...is to be found in that ocean, and he calls out to the crew that Moby Dick “spouts thick blood,” and lies ahead of them. (full context)
Chapter 113: The Forge
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...Ahab takes away his new steel weapon, ready to use it in the hunt for Moby Dick. (full context)
Chapter 115: The Pequod Meets the Bachelor
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...when Ahab stops the captain during a brief gam and asks whether he has seen Moby Dick, the unnamed captain of the Bachelor replies that he “doesn’t believe that the whale... (full context)
Chapter 116: The Dying Whale
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...does not make him any happier, it does cause him to approach his hunt for Moby Dick with even greater energy and resolve. (full context)
Chapter 118: The Quadrant
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...it is close to the equator, and whether it is therefore time to search for Moby Dick in earnest—for Ahab is now convinced that Moby Dick will be found along the... (full context)
Chapter 126: The Life-Buoy
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...seals. In the night, one of the crewmembers—who happens to be the first who spotted Moby Dick, while up at the top of the main mast—falls overboard in a fit of... (full context)
Chapter 128: The Pequod Meets the Rachel
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...with the Rachel, a boat that reports, through its Captain Gardiner, that they have seen Moby Dick, and that, the day before, they lowered boats to capture some whales and saw... (full context)
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...Ahab claims he is already losing time in talking with Gardiner rather than searching for Moby Dick. Gardiner, horrified, boards his own ship and sails away, and Ishmael comments that the... (full context)
Chapter 130: The Hat
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Ishmael states that the crew has become silent, awaiting the final encounter with Moby Dick. Fedallah seems never to sleep, and neither does Ahab, whose hat is pulled down... (full context)
Chapter 133: The Chase. – First Day
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Finally, after countless days of searching, Ahab sights Moby Dick’s spout from the top of the main mast of the Pequod. Although Tashtego and... (full context)
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Stubb and Flask also take out whaleboats, and each rows in furious pursuit of Moby Dick. Ishmael says that Moby Dick appeared so beautiful as to resemble a god from... (full context)
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...back to the Pequod, and once there, Ahab resumes his watch, saying that whoever sights Moby Dick on the day he is killed will truly get the doubloon—and if Ahab does... (full context)
Chapter 134: The Chase. – Second Day
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Some crew members believe they see Moby Dick spouting, but it is only one unrepeated spout, and the mates warn that Moby... (full context)
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...by Perth, but the other two boats are not so lucky, and are smashed against Moby Dick’s side—their crews get drenched and must swim to safety, clinging to bits of the... (full context)
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...up all the sailors, mates, and Ahab, who are swimming in the nearby waters, as Moby Dick glides quickly away. But Ahab realizes that Fedallah is missing—that he was trapped under... (full context)
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...to abandon the chase, saying that his boat has now been destroyed twice, and that Moby Dick will kill him and perhaps the rest of the crew. Ahab also shows that... (full context)
Chapter 135: The Chase. – Third Day
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...Pequod, and quickly try to make the boats ready and water-tight, to continue to attack Moby Dick. Meanwhile, Ahab sees a horrific sight: Fedallah’s body is trapped against the White Whale’s,... (full context)
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...what the second will be. Ahab nevertheless orders the crew to once again fly toward Moby Dick, who has appeared to “slacken” in his pace, perhaps because he is tired and... (full context)
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Ahab recovers, orders the crew back into the boat, and realizes that Moby Dick has turned away from attacking the small whaling dinghy, and has instead focused its... (full context)
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...one final shot with his harpoon at the whale, and urges the crew onward, toward Moby Dick. Ahab throws the harpoon and strikes the whale, but does not notice that the... (full context)