In the intricate novel of Herman Melvilles Moby Dick, the notion of a universal brotherhood of Man is introduced in the first fifteen chapters. Melville uses the relationship of Ishmael and Queequeg and the everyday standards of the shipmen to illustrate these ideas. A theme of the novel is the idea of comradeship between human beings, no matter how different. In the following essay, I will analyze and explain this concept by incorporating events that coincide.
The theme of universal brotherhood of Man is first introduced in the third chapter. After Ishmael finally found an inn to stay in, The Spouter-Inn, and got a chance to get familiarized with the place, he watched as the newly arrived shipmates took pleasure in each others presence. These men drank and had fun, feeling happy-go-lucky and limitless. However, Ishmael noticed a shipmate that stood out. One of them held somewhat aloof This man interested me at once. (Page 14) This shipmate was subdued and did not make as much of a ruckus as the other men and while these men were at the peak of their gaiety, he snuck out of the bar. When the men noticed that Bulkington, the quiet man, was gone, they all went searching for him. `Bulkington! Bulkington! Wheres Bulkington? and darted out of the house in pursuit of him. (Page 15) This incident shows the brotherhood of Man. Even if one was to be the outcast of a group, he is still part of the group and when the outcast disappears, part of the group is missing. That is why those shipmen looked for Bulkington. They had a special bond with each other a brotherly bond universally shared.
Another example of the brotherhood of Man is depicted through the relationship between Ishmael and Queequeg. When Ishmael firsts meets Queequeg, he was startled by his appearance and tentative about sleeping with him. However, Ishmael looks beyond his appearance in hopes that Queequeg is a really benign and decides to give it a shot. Later on in the story Ishmael sees Queequeg as a man of honest heart, dignity and greet courage. The next morning, when Ishmael wakes up, he finds Queequegs arms over him. I found Queeuegs arm thrown over me in the most loving and affectionate way. You had almost thought I had been his wife (page 24) Here is an example of brotherly love. Only knowing each other for a few hours, Queequeg felt comfortable enough to put his arm around Ishmael in a loving manner. Also, when Ishmael wakes Queequeg up to get his arm off him, Queequeg does so in a polite manner, even after Ishmael rudely wakes him up. Queequeg respects Ishmael like a brother, and Ishmael feels the same. Eventually, Queequeg feels so comfortable with Ishmael that he gives half of everything he owns to Ishmael. They knew each other for only a short period of time, yet they treat each other as family.
Lastly, a situation that happened in the novel concerning the brotherhood of Man happened in Chapter 7 in the chapel. A lot of people gathered in the chapel to mourn the deaths of loved one, friends, and even those with no relation. Even Ishmael and Queequeg were there although they knew no one there. This shows the brotherhood of Man because everyone is gathered in one congregation mourning for the loss of their fellow brothers, whom they loved dearly.Everyone shares a common love for their peers, even if they did not know them.
To conclude, one of the major themes of the book Moby Dick is the idea of universal brotherhood in Man. The shipmen who cared for each other, the people gathered in the chapel and the relationship between Ishmael and Queequeg both illustrate that theme. Melville wanted to show the readers that there is a unique but special solidarity between humans that cannot be stopped. We all care about each other and treat each other as if we were all family.