In the final episode on Moby Dick, the panel discusses the fulfilment of Fedallah’s prophecy and his death, Starbuck’s dilemma and despair, the destruction of the Pequod, the death of Ahab, Ishmael on the margins, and some final genre considerations.
In the penultimate Moby Dick episode, the panel discusses chapters 114–128, focusing on the ship’s sails, quadrant, compass, and line; the refashioning of the Pequod into the expression of Ahab’s will; and Ahab’s final abandonment of his humanity.
The panel discusses the Ahab’s representation as a wrathful, inhuman avatar of anti-nature, the hellish nature of the Pequod, the sorcerous conniving of the captain and crew, and the abandonment of every comfort and sentiment in search of Moby Dick.
The panel discusses chapters 91–101, with attention given to the cross-ship conduct between the Pequod and the Samuel Enderby, and to the psychological effects of sea life (and its attendant disasters) upon Ishmael, Ahab, and the rest of the ship’s crew.
The panel discusses chapters 82–90, with attention given to humour as a potential coping mechanism for Ishmael, before considering again the evidence for his identity, given his familiarity with significant legal works including Bracton and Blackstone.
The panel discuss chapters 72–81 and focus particularly upon Ishmael’s connexion (literal and figurative) to Queequeg, and the analogous, fated and willed relationships between the Pequod, the crew, Captain Ahab, and across humanity more generally.
The panel reads some excellent listener questions, and then discusses chapters 60–71, with special attention to the studied ambiguity of the text, Ahab’s identification and contrast with Moby Dick, and the ‘problematisation of the hierarchy’ (ding-ding).
The panel discusses chapters 52-59, with special attention given to how the structure of the narrative both anticipates and surpasses post-structuralist critiques whilst challenging the genre of the novel and changing the attitudes of its readers.
The panel discusses chapters 43-51, examining the presence of Romanticism in the text and character of Ishmael, and highlighting how the text’s rapid shifts in perspective and narrative focus may further structuralist and poststructuralist readings.
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.
The panel discusses chapters 26-34, with a particular focus on the effect of genre considerations in framing the novel, its shift into Shakespearean tonality and structure, and Melville’s use of humour amidst grave and existential subject matter.
The panel discusses chapters 16-25, with a particular attention to characterisation beyond Ishmael and Queequeg–particularly that of Peleg, Bildad, Elijah, and Bulkington–and to the overarching Old Testament Biblical influences upon the narrative.