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Character Roles (Protagonist, Antagonist...)
Tools of Characterization
Captain Peleg and Captain Bildad
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Meet the Cast
It seems pretty easy to identify Ishmael and his role in Moby-Dick: he’s a young, white, American man living in the mid-nineteenth century. He’s educated, a little stuck up, and may onc...
Captain Ahab: one of the best whaling captains in Nantucket, the commander of the Pequod, and definitely a bit odd. Late in the novel, Ahab begins to reminisce about how stark and lonely his life h...
Queequeg, like his best buddy Ishmael, has a bit of wanderlust in him. The son of a king on a (fictional) South Sea island, Queequeg is desperate to find out what it was like to sail on one of the...
Moby Dick, the legendary White Whale, is an awfully generous sperm whale. He not only lends his name to the title of the novel – he also lends himself to everyone in the novel who decides the...
Starbuck, the first mate on board the Pequod, is a long, thin, earnest Nantucket Quaker. His thinness and tightness make him seem condensed, as though he’s been refined or boiled down to his...
Stubb, the second mate on board the Pequod, is a jolly man from Cape Cod who likes to laugh in the face of fear and light his pipe for a calm smoke in the middle of a whale hunt. Stubb reacts to ba...
Flask, the third mate on board the Pequod, is a "short, stout, ruddy young fellow, very pugnacious concerning whales, who somehow seemed to think that the great Leviathans had personally and heredi...
Tashtego is a Native American from Gay Head, the westernmost point of Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts. In Moby-Dick, he is presented as having inherited his huntin...
Daggoo is an African tribesman from a costal village who voluntarily joined a whaling ship when he was young (in a strange, parodic reversal of the way that slaves were often kidnapped from such vi...
Pip is a young African-American boy, one of the lowest-ranking sailors on board the Pequod. Early in the novel, we see other sailors calling to him to get out his tambourine and play them a tune, a...
Fedallah is the harpooneer whom Ahab secretly smuggles aboard the Pequod in order to staff his whaling boat. Fedallah’s origins are mysterious, and we know little more than that he is a Parse...
Captain Peleg and Captain Bildad
Captains Peleg and Bildad are retired Nantucket whaling captains who are now co-owners of the Pequod. Basically, this whaling voyage is like a retirement investment for them, and they take on the o...
Father Mapple is the clergyman at the little New Bedford Whaleman’s Chapel that Ishmael and Queequeg attend before setting out for Nantucket and their whaling voyage. There are two main thing...
Captain Boomer, the commander of the English whaling ship the Samuel Enderby, is like Ahab’s reflection in a funhouse mirror: like Ahab, he lost a limb to Moby Dick, a limb that has been repl...
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