Moby Dick is an epic-novel with epic-dimensions to it. Moby Dick, as simple as it is on the superficial level has multifarious dimensions to it. A reason for the richness of the novel is the different layers of meaning that can be ferreted out from the novel. The metaphysical overtones contribute to this aspect. We may consider the different metaphysical aspects.
Ahab’s monomaniacal ambition has transcendental overtones. He does not check his ambitions on the basis whether they are good or evil, but only on the ground that they are entirely his. His monomaniacal tendencies are elevated by Melville who asserts that it is “a crucifixion on his face” and “the nameless overbearing of some mighty woe.” However, the novel can be an indictment of Transcendentalism as well in that it is an indictment of individualism as Ahab’s towering efforts are crushed towards the end.
Apart from making him a transcendentalist, he also makes his protagonist defy the symbolic perception that transmutes the instinctive violence of the white whale to existential frustration. Ahab’s tendency to symbolic thinking leads him to seeing his adversary “that intangible malignity that has been from the beginning. But this tendency also betrays in him in an inflated sense of obligation to give an outlet to “all the general hate and rage felt by his whole race from Adam down.”
At another level, it also symbolizes man’s quest for truth, the ultimate way to reach God.…