A close reading of Moby-Dick clearly reflects the influence of Shakespeare, Carlyle and Sir Thomas Browne upon Herman Melville. His style of writing is not common and he has added new experiences in the genre of American Literature. The characters are so inspiring that readers are amused and inspired. It is also a fact that Moby-Dick is commercially a failure but personally I like it the most. The characters like Ahab represents human will and thus he stands for entire human being. Some lines are worth quoting here-

“If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man;I’d strike the sun if it insulted me. For could the sun do that, then could I do the other, since there is ever a sort of fair play herein, jealousy presiding over all creations. But not my master, man, is even that fair play. Who is over me? Truth hath no confines”(page-262)

The above mentioned lines clearly reflect the ideas of Ahab who is really a Byronic Hero.  It seems that he speaks for all men. Some critics have said that it is not easy to define the structure of this book as it is unified in nature as well as structure. Some scholars have all said that the structure of this book is loose and there are so many episodes in it. So it can also be said that it is episodic in nature. Thus initially readers are attracted towards it but as they dive in the book they find themselves diving without any special aim. Thus several scholars have agreed that it is loosely structured. It is a story of whale hunting but the voyage starts only after chapter twenty one. The initial chapter up to twenty one deals in description of spouter-inn, sailors, whale man’s chapel and much more trifle things. Thus it can also be said that so many chapters deal with “extraneous” matter.  Even after the voyage has started we can notice that straightforward narrative is missing. In the chapter dealing “Cetology” the author has tried to give detailed description of whales and its types. Thus we can see that plot development is missing and only zoological information has been given. In spite of these lacking we can find some beautiful symbols used in this book. The use of symbols suggest us the idea that there can be several interpretation of any image. Thus there are some beautiful symbols which has-been used in almost all the novels of Herman Melville. We can find in this novel a continuous conflict between good and bad. The white whale is a symbol used for evil and Captain Ahab’s hunt for the white whale symbolizes crusade. It is a fight of goodness against evil. This evil in form of white whale has taken one of the legs of Captain Ahab. In his eyes the white whale has become an agent of destruction who is against all human beings. This is one of the reasons that Captain Ahab wants this white whale shot dead at any cost. However this kind of interpretation is not convincing and several critics and scholars have said that it is all about revenge. Captain Ahab is a whale hunter and in reaction to this a powerful white whale Moby Dick has attacked him. In this encounter he has lost one of his legs. This voyage is actually a voyage started to take revenge. Captain Ahab wants to take revenge from this white whale. In return nature has taken revenge. Moby-Dick understands that his life is in danger attacks the ship. This is not revenge but it was the attack for survival. Ishmael is the only survival of the voyage. It is interesting to see that he survives because of a coffin which symbolizes death.  In the chapter “The Doubloon” we come across a gold coin which has been nailed to the main mast by Captain Ahab. This coin was to be won by the person who first sights the white whale.  This coin is very bright which acts as a symbol of lust. In the soliloquy of Captain Ahab we find-

“the firm tower, that is Ahab; the volcano, that is Ahab; the courageous, the  undaunted, and victorious fowl, that, too, is Ahab; all are Ahab; and this round gold is but the image of the rounder globe, which, like a magician’s glass, to each and every man in turn but mirrors back his own mysterious self.”

Thus it can be said that Captain Ahab was above the common man firm and determined. He wants to kill the beast in form of white whale. By doing so he wants to understand the meaning of his last encounter with the beast. At last Captain Ahab understands the meaning of life only after losing life. The whale also stands for nature. It symbolizes nature which is calm and destructive. The vengeance of Captain Ahab seems melodramatic but as he attains his fate it becomes tragic. There are certain scholars and critics who have referred Captain Ahab as anti Christ. There is no doubt that his image is satanic and heroic. He is not going to give up unto the last. He cannot be defeated easily because he is firm and courageous. He can go up to any extent to win his cause. By doing so he seems like darkness which comes out of light. Thus he is multifaceted and his character is very strong firm and fixed. His fellow voyager’s acts like a foil to him. If we look into the character sketch of queequeg we find him a very fine fellow.  He views other creatures as fellow creatures.