CR Episode 179: Moby Dick, Part V

Moby Dick: Sunset, by Rockwell Kent
Moby Dick: Sunset, by Rockwell Kent

Download Link: Released on 12 June 2023

The panel discusses chapters 35-42, exploring Melville’s purpose in adopting a multigeneric style, and paying special attention to Ahab’s motivations, including his conception of malice and universal evil, and his understanding of justice and vengeance.


  1. Loving the series! I had an additional thought on the chapter “the mast-head” that I think builds on some of the things you have mentioned. Ishmael’s inability to properly do his duty as a whaler, i.e., look out for whales while on the mast-head, stems from his romanticization of nature: his romantic spirit leads him to ponder the grandness of the sea rather then actually whale–watch. This may be a commentary on the paradox of the Romantic soul; inasmuch as the Romantic idealizes a rustic and nature-based profession and lifestyle, he or she is by that very idealization rendered unable to properly conduct it. The romantic will always be a poor whale-watcher, farmer, etc., exactly because he or she idealizes these professions, and, distracted by the great beauty of nature, cannot bear the mundane reality of these tasks.

    I also wanted to note that I know of at least one adaption of Moby Dick to theatre – it targets a younger audience, and I actually performed in it in high school! By Mark Rosenwinkel, with only 4 parts – Ishmael, Ahab, Queequeg, and Stubb.

    Thank you again – I thought I would also attach here an article my Dad recently wrote which mentions Critical Readings while I was at it –

  2. I love how you never know what the next chapter will hold! It might be a play, or novel form, whale facts or comedy! Keeps us on our toes!

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