Moby Dick: Ishmael’s Epic Voyage Revisited

Glera Hernando, Mario
Nadal Blasco, María Benita (dir.)

Universidad de Zaragoza, FFYL, 2014
Filología Inglesa y Alemana department, Filología Inglesa area

Graduado en Estudios Ingleses

Abstract: Epics exist almost since the dawn of oral literature and they still exist nowadays in films, comics and even videogames. They tell the story of heroes, gods and they have a significance for the culture they are placed in. Epics were very important for ancient cultures and they usually produced iconic characters that in the end became national icons, for instance, Odysseus is regarded as a great hero of Greece. Herman Melville´s praised Moby Dick (1851) is unquestionably an epic that deals with the self, salvation, revenge and an epic creature, the white whale called 'Moby Dick'. However, this American novel is not a classical epic due to the large amount of scientific knowledge it displays. As all epics need a hero Moby Dick is also special because it contains two heroes: Ishmael and Ahab. This paper is specially focused on the way the novel resembles the classical epics and the circular journey Ishmael, the major character of the novel, takes. Following Thomas Drake and Joseph Campbell studies, the most recognisable features of epics and the stages of the epic hero will be followed and compared with the ones of Moby Dick and Ishmael. This comparison will stand for a demonstration that allows Herman Melville´s novel to be labelled as epic despise the many chapters of factual information.

Free keyword(s): moby dick ; herman melville ; epic ; epic heroes ; epic stages
Tipo de Trabajo Académico: Trabajo Fin de Grado

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