Moby Dick

Ishmael’s Harmonization of Body and Soul in Moby Dick College

Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick is well knows for the epic sea voyage that takes place over the course of the text. However, this journey doubles as not only a physical journey of movement from place to place but also a spiritual one. Ishmael’s journey in Moby Dick can be compared to Whitman’s in “Song of Myself” as both of them take a physical journey into nature and experience a harmony of body and soul. When the body and soul come together the individual will experience a love of the self, a love of others and a love of nature. In no particular order, Ishmael experiences all of these by the end of the novel.

Ishmael is so unhappy on land that he is cold towards others and even has death on the mind. “This is my substitute for pistol and ball” he says, “With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship,” (Melville, 21). He is desperate enough on land to possibly be considering suicide. He needs to be saved. Going on a whaling voyage out at sea is what will begin his harmonization of body and soul and will maybe be what saves him. On this journey into nature Ishmael experiences physical challenges that will spark some of these harmonizations.

Before his voyage, Ishmael is alone and...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1137 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8767 literature essays, 2348 sample college application essays, 386 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in