Moby Dick Chapter 69 The Funeral
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Author:  Robert Tulip [ Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Moby Dick Chapter 69 The Funeral ... m#2HCH0069

Having had its commercial valuables removed, the dead whale is unchained and allowed to float away, accompanied by cubic roods of sea vultures and square roods of sharks.

These mean marine scavengers would not have shown kindness to the whale in life, but in death they are only too happy to ravenously join the gluttonry.

The vast desecrated body can be mistakenly seen as a shoal, leading to a marking on maps and consequent shunning: "there's your law of precedents; there's your utility of traditions; there's the story of your obstinate survival of old beliefs never bottomed on the earth, and now not even hovering in the air! There's orthodoxy!"

Melville has a good point here about how myths evolve, by turning mistakes into concrete dogma. The whale is rather like Jesus, "in his death his ghost becomes a powerless panic to a world."

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