Sophia and Philosophia

Article Title

Call Thee Ishmael


Moby-Dick is a strangely compelling book.”[1] Scholarship and commentary help the reader understand why Ishmael’s tale is so compelling, but not always why it is strangely so. The perennial search for a master key to unlock the strangeness of Moby-Dick beneath its infinite layers has added more mesmerizing layers, but if many of the proposed keys fit into the lock of Moby-Dick, why is there yet a sense that none have completely opened “the great flood-gates?” (Moby-Dick 22, hereafter “MD”). Is it because none of them are right, or that they are only partly right, or that Melville himself was confused?


Moby Dick (Melville, Herman)