The narrator, and a junior member of the crew of the
The egomaniacal captain of the
The great white sperm whale. Moby Dick, also referred to as the White Whale, is an infamous and dangerous threat to seamen, considered by Ahab the incarnation of evil and a fated nemesis.
The first mate of the
Starbuck’s skilled harpooner and Ishmael’s best friend. Queequeg was once a prince from a South Sea island who stowed away on a whaling ship in search of adventure. He is a composite of elements of African, Polynesian, Islamic, Christian, and Native American cultures. He is brave and generous, and enables Ishmael to see that race has no bearing on a man’s character.
The second mate of the
Stubb’s harpooner, Tashtego is a Gay Head Indian from Martha’s Vineyard, one of the last of a tribe about to disappear. Tashtego performs many of the skilled tasks aboard the ship, such as tapping the case of spermaceti in the whale’s head. Like Queequeg, Tashtego embodies certain characteristics of the “noble savage” and is meant to defy racial stereotypes. He is, however, more practical and less intellectual than Queequeg: like many a common sailor, Tashtego craves rum.
A native of Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard and the third mate of the
Flask’s harpooner. Daggoo is a physically enormous, imperious-looking African. Like Queequeg, he stowed away on a whaling ship that stopped near his home. Daggoo is less prominent in the narrative than either Queequeg or Tashtego.
A young Black boy who fills the role of a cabin boy or jester on the
A strange, “oriental” old Parsee (Persian fire-worshipper) whom Ahab has brought on board unbeknownst to most of the crew. Fedallah has a very striking appearance: around his head is a turban made from his own hair, and he wears a black Chinese jacket and pants. He is an almost supernaturally skilled hunter and also serves as a prophet to Ahab. Fedallah keeps his distance from the rest of the crew, who for their part view him with unease.
A well-to-do retired whaleman of Nantucket and a Quaker. As one of the principal owners of the
Another well-to-do Quaker ex-whaleman from Nantucket who owns a large share of the
A former whaleman and now the preacher in the New Bedford Whaleman’s Chapel. Father Mapple delivers a sermon on Jonah and the whale in which he uses the Bible to address the whalemen’s lives. Learned but also experienced, he is an example of someone whose trials have led him toward God rather than bitterness or revenge.
The jovial captain of the English whaling ship the
A sailor aboard the