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Word Count: 1,352
The moral ambiguity of the universe is prevalent throughout Melvilles Moby Dick None of the characters represent pure evil or pure goodness Even Melvilles description of Ahab whom he repeatedly refers to monomaniacal suggesting an amorality or psychosis is given a chance to be seen as a frail sympathetic character When Ahabs monomaniac fate is juxtaposed with that of Ishmael that moral ambiguity deepens leaving the reader with an ultimate unclarity of principleThe final moments of Moby Dick bring the novel to a terse abrupt climax The mutual destruction of the Pequod and the White Whale followed by Ishmaels epilogue occupies approximately half a dozen pages Despite Melvilles previous tendency to methodically detail every aspect of whaling life he assumes a concise almost journalistic approach in the climax Note that in these few pages he makes little attempt to assign value judgements to the events taking place Stylistically his narration is reduced to brusque factual phrases using a greater number of semicolons By ending the book so curtly Melville makes a virtually negligible attempt at denouement leaving what value judgements exist to the readerUltimately it is the dichotomy between the respective fortunes of Ishmael and Ahab that the reader is left with Herein lies a greater moral ambiguity than is previously suggested Although Ishmael is the sole survivor of the Pequod it is notable that in his own way Ahab fulfills his desire for revenge by ensuring the destruction of the White Whale alongside his own end Despite the seeming superiority of Ishmaels destiny Melville does not explicitly indicate so On the contrary he subtly suggests that Ishmaels survival is lonely and empty upon being rescued It was the devious-cruising Rachel that in her retracing search after her missing children only found another orphan 724 That single instance of the appellation orphan as applied to Ishmael speaks volumes when taken in light of the destruction of the Pequod and her crew Melvilles inclusion of Ishmaels
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