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The Great White Whale and its Many Meanings Herman Melville in his epic novel Moby-Dick utilizes the symbolism of the color of the Great White Whale to demonstrate his theme of duality However Captain Ahab tragically had a single mind set towards Moby Dick as he believed that the whale was the symbol of the worlds evil and had to be destroyed On the other hand Ishmael sees that the color white can mean many various and opposing things It would be dangerous to settle upon any one single meaning In the chapter The Whiteness of the Whale Melville explains the importance of duality of meaning in the world as opposed to mans and Ahabs desire to see only one meaning in any one thing Melville utilizes the symbol of the color white to show us that no one thing means only one thing Instead the color white and the meaning of all things depends upon the experiences and perception of the person viewing that object Ahab viewed the White Whale only as the symbol of all evil in the universe which eventually leads him to his downfall On the day that Ahab threw his harpoon into the White Whale and Moby Dick ate his leg Ahab decided that the Great White Whale meant only one thing evil From then on Ahab decided that there was something unusual about this whale as if it had hidden inside him all the evil in the world Since Moby Dick attacked Ahab he then had cherished a wild vindictiveness against the whale and now identifies with the whale all his bodily woes and all his intellectual and spiritual exasperations For Ahab the White Whale became the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies found in the universe Ahabs crazy monomania quest was to destroy these evil forces After Ahabs experience with the White Whale he only believed that the whale was a symbol
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