Why does Ishmael include so
many digressions in his narrative? Why does he draw on so many other
disciplines (geology, art, biology)? Choose one of these digressions
(the chapter on “Cetology,” for example) and discuss the ways in which
it comments on the main narrative.
Describe Ishmael’s method
of narration. Is he reliable or unreliable as a narrator? Why is
he the one to tell this story? What would the narrative have been
like if Ahab were
How is the concept of fate
used to organize the narrative? Does fate justify Ahab’s actions?
What is the relationship between fate and prophecy? What does fate
have to do with religion, particularly Christianity?
Explain some of the biblical
references in Moby-Dick. How does Melville use
the Bible as a literary model and as a source for thematic material?