Individual vs. Nature
Moby Dick is a highly symbolic work written by Melville. It mainly describes the struggle between Moby Dick and the sailors which ends up with the sailors’ total failure. Ishmael develops firm friendship with a savage named Queequeg while staying in the hotel. And they contract to a whale ship—Pequod regardless of the ominous predictions because they hold the same goal—hunting for whales. Sailors from different countries follow the Captain, Ahab, to fight against the whales. Unfortunately, almost everyone of the Pequod’s crew lose their lives, only Ishmael
survives, due to the coffin prepared for Queequeg. The story is not only interesting, exciting but also meaningful with some profound themes, including religion, revenge, racism, greed and human—nature friendship.
In the story, the white whale, for example, is often known as the representative of good and evil, so is Ahab, the Captain. Besides, the white whale is also considered as a symbol for God or the nature which is out of human’s control, while individuals in the novel are regarded as the humankind. Consequently, Ahab’s vengeance against the white whale is
similar to man’s struggle against the nature.
Actually, Ahab’s fait is destined at the very beginning of the story. His strong desire to hunt for Moby Dick offends the white whale and he is punished with one of his legs bitten off. In fact, the whales are usually gentle and mild. If people don’t attack them, neither do they. However,
Ahab is furious at his first unhappy encounter with Moby Dick. Even worse, he isn’t willing to give up his revenge plan even if Starbuck tries to persuade him. To him, killing Moby Dick becomes the ultimate goal of his rest life. Furthermore, he calls on more people, together with him, to kill the white whale. Admittedly, as a leader, he is fairly successful, but as an individual in the society, he is totally wrong. During the hunting trip, his ignorance of the forces of the nature, his overconfidence, selfishness and stubbornness finally lead to him, even his companions, to death.
To some extent, Ahab is a hero owing to his braveness. Anyway, in my opinion, it’s simply an absurd excuse for his revenge plan. He
becomes crazier and crazier during his trip, and in order to kill Moby Dick, he even seduces the other sailors with a golden coin disregarding their safety or will.
Throughout the history, the struggle between man and nature has never stopped. Undoubtedly, man’s courage and persistence really set a
good example for us. Nevertheless, it’s silly for man to challenge the
nature, or even worse, destroy the nature.
Man and nature are inseparable, in other words, man and nature should depend on each other. It would certainly do no good to man or nature if people try to change or even control the nature. Human beings should live up to the principles of peaceful co-existence.
The story presents breathtaking and spectacular scenes to the readers which make us have a deeper understanding of nature’s mystery. In
addition, the story holds an ironic tone from the beginning to the end, especially when Ishmael survives from the coffin prepared for his best friend. The novel not only describes an interesting, exciting adventure story but also reflects many themes for man to reconsider. All in all, what we need keep in mind is that we should live in harmony with the nature, thus man and nature can develop together.