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Analysis of Major Characters in Robinson Crusoe Ishmael - Despite his centrality to the story Ishmael doesnt reveal much about himself to the reader We know that he has gone to sea out of some deep spiritual malaise and that shipping aboard a whaler is his version of committing suicidehe believes that men aboard a whaling ship are lost to the world It is apparent from Ishmaels frequent digressions on a wide range of subjectsfrom art geology and anatomy to legal codes and literaturethat he is intelligent and well educated yet he claims that a whaling ship has been his Yale College and his Harvard He seems to be a self-taught Renaissance man good at everything but committed to nothing Given the mythic romantic aspects of Moby-Dick it is perhaps fitting that its narrator should be an enigma not everything in a story so dependent on fate and the seemingly supernatural needs to make perfect sense Additionally Ishmael represents the fundamental contradiction between the story of Moby-Dick and its setting Melville has created a profound and philosophically complicated tale and set it in a world of largely uneducated working-class men Ishmael thus seems less a real character than an instrument of the author No one else aboard the Pequod possesses the proper combination of intellect and experience to tell this story Indeed at times even Ishmael fails Melvilles purposes and he disappears from the story for long stretches replaced by dramatic dialogues and soliloquies from Ahab and other characters Ahab - Ahab the Pequods obsessed captain represents both an ancient and a quintessentially modern type of hero Like the heroes of Greek or Shakespearean tragedy Ahab suffers from a single fatal flaw one he shares with such legendary characters as Oedipus and Faust His tremendous overconfidence or hubris leads him to defy common sense and believe that like a god he can enact his will and remain immune to the forces
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