Mar 05 2010

Ishmael in the Epilogue

Published by at 7:10 pm under Characters and characterization

The Epilogue of Moby Dick is somewhat of a letdown.  After the epic drama of the whale chase, we are left with a narrator floating in a calm sea for two days.  This may seem like an odd way to end this novel, a throwaway page, and in some ways it is.  However, I think it is fitting.  Ishmael has been an odd, detached, and often invisible narrator for much of this novel.  His stories are interesting because of the people in the, and because of his philosophical musings based on these events.  However, at this point, there are no other characters left.  Everything has been destroyed, and he is too tired to muse.

Ishmael does not seem to find himself, alone, important enough to ponder.  He says “The drama’s done.  Why then here does any one step forth?  – Because one did survive the wreck.”  He makes it clear that the interesting part is over.  Furthermore, he does not even say that he is the one who survived, merely that “one” did.  Ishmael seems lost without others around.  This is a symptom of the invisible narrator who, as I previously discussed, very rarely focuses on himself.  Without any one else around, he is at a loss.  And that brings about the very sad, lonely, and sparse end of this intense and overpopulated novel.

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Social Widgets powered by