The moral ambiguity of the universe is prevalent throughout Melville?s
Moby Dick. None of the characters represent pure evil or pure goodness.
Even Melville?s description of Ahab, whom he repeatedly refers to
“monomaniacal,” suggesting an amorality or psychosis, is given a chance to
be seen as a frail, sympathetic character. When Ahab?s “monomaniac” fate
is juxtaposed with that of Ishmael, that moral ambiguity deepens, leaving
the reader with an ultimate unclarity of principle.
The final moments of Moby Dick bring the novel to a terse, abrupt climax.
The mutual destruction of the Pequod and the White Whale, followed by
Ishmael?s epilogue occupies approximately half a dozen pages. Despite
Melville?s previous tendency to methodically detail every aspect of
whaling life, he assumes a concise, almost journalistic approach in the
climax. Note that in these few pages, he makes little attempt to assign
value judgements to the events taking place. Stylistically, his narration
is reduced to brusque, factual phrases using a greater number of
semicolons. By ending the book so curtly, Melville makes a virtually
negligible attempt at denouement, leaving what value judgements exist to
Ultimately, it is the dichotomy between the respective fortunes
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