Biblical Allusions in Melville's Moby Dick Essay

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In The Town-Ho’s Story, Melville uses many different types of figurative devices to describe the relationship between Steelkilt and Radney. Radney is known and described as the inferior, yet higher ranked, mate, while Steelkilt is described as the more respectable, but lower ranked mate. Melville faintly, yet noticeably relates Moby Dick as a God and Steelkilt as Jesus. Such clever biblical allusions accurately describe Moby Dick and Steelkilt and although Melville does not give any biblical significance to Radney, the readers can still clearly visualize Radney’s character. The Town-Ho’s Story has symbolic significance that both foreshadows and describes Radney, Steelkilt, Moby Dick, and the fate of the Pequod. Melville uses many…show more content…
If Radney had the chance, he would “pull down and pulverize the subaltern’s tower,” showing that he is trying too hard to try to destroy someone who is lower ranked and not as significant as he is. Melville alludes to the story of Charlemagne and states that Steelkilt is Charlemagne himself, signifying that it is in Steelkilt’s blood to lead the mutiny. Melville then cleverly foreshadows the death of Radney with a fight between him and Steelkilt. The usage of Melville’s nautical terms and similes help connect the relation between the fight that ultimately leads to Radney’s death. Steelkilt’s fist into the jaw of Radney is parallel to a whale and a stoved boat. Melville describes Steelkilt’s fist being “stove in his head.” Steelkilt’s fist acts as the whale and Radney’s jaw acts as the stoved boat and this directly foreshadows how Moby Dick killed Radney. Moby Dick is described as an “immortal monster.” Melville very subtly alludes to the bible and connects Moby Dick as being a God and Steelkilt being Jesus. Moby Dick, as a God, stepped in and decided the fate for Radney, so Steelkilt, being Jesus, never had to kill Radney himself. The image of Radney’s red woolen shirt was described to be caught on the mouth of Moby Dick. The red shirt signifies Radney’s blood inside the mouth of Moby Dick. Irony is shown here because it was Radney’s big mouth that angered Steelkilt and ironically, he was killed by a big mouth. Melville uses a pun to
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