Analysis Of Aboard The Pequod By Herman Melville

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Aboard the Pequod, as the ship is bustling with activity, Melville describes the scene as the crew performs the grueling task of processing a whale. Large, bubbling try-pots of oil blubber fill the deck of the ship and a heavy smoke blankets the air as harpooners and sailors work regardless of the conditions. Through this familiar scene, Melville layers the setting and characters to build up a distinct mood for this passage. Specifically, he pulls dark romanticism into his writing by paralleling Ahab’s monomania and the deterioration of the crew. To establish an ominous atmosphere and describe the impending doom of the voyage, Herman Melville combines many forms of figurative language like sinister similes and the eerie personification of the Pequod with suspenseful imagery.
Melville utilizes similes in order to build suspense and emphatically compare evil laughter with rising flames. The laughter and flames are unpredictable and fill the ship with noise and unbearable heat, almost engulfing it. In the passage, he compares the two ideas by stating, “as their uncivilized laughter forked upwards out of them, like the flames from the furnace.” Melville connects the menacing behavior of the crew and maniacal laughter to Ahab, as he also exhibits behavior that is erratic and fills the ship with his plans of revenge. Since he also describes the laughter as “forked out of them,” it seems as though the sailors are not willingly laughing, but are forced in doing so. Ahab undoubtedly

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