The King James Bible. Moby-Dick tells not only the story of the ventures of the Pequod and its crew, but also of Melville himself. Hume developed a sceptical theory of knowledge, one that unprecedentedly affected nineteenth century religious belief and epistemology. While Ahab can only impose meaning, Ishmael reveals greater capacity to really listen to, closely observe and make sense of Nature in a more balanced way. It is very evident what mean and sneaking lives many of you live, for my sight has been whetted by experience. Over Descartian vortices you hover. And how is such an ideal man to enjoy what surrounds him if he cannot even see it?
Melville portrays both Ishmael and Ahab as transcendentalists, but goes on to show that such an ideology cannot sustain them.
Melville, Anti-Transcendentalism, & Democracy: Moby-Dick as a Cautionary Tale
His main conclusion is that. But for Ahab, only when Truth is whole, only when it is spelt with a capital letter, is it worth seeking. Whether to praise or satirize it, Transcendentalism was often discussed in the circles Melville frequented and in the magazines and newspapers he used to read, as well as in his conversations with Hawthorne. Beyond that, he is able to see that human relationships are also meaningful, that knowledge by itself and without a further goal makes very little sense, that isolation and communion with Nature may be only valid for a while and as long as one is fully prepared to cope with them. Religious faith was to suffer greatly under science later in the nineteenth century as it slowly usurped the throne to become the ruling metaphor of life today. Moby Dick enters the American literary market place at a moment of crucial historical transition in several areas of American life.