Moby-Dick discussion

Lines & Passages > Whales & other big characters (ch. 24 - 34)

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message 1: by Sarah (last edited Nov 18, 2011 03:09AM) (new)

Sarah (sarahj) | 121 comments Mod
I found chapter 31 "Queen Mab" very funny, and in the end also nearly Shakespearian in its dialogue and foreshadowing.

I especially liked how Stubb described his dream initially: "Such a queer dream, King-Post, I never had. You know the old man's ivory leg, well I dreamed he kicked me with it; and when I tried to kick back, upon my soul, my little man, I kicked my leg right off!"

And the end seemed Shakespearian even before that final evocation of "something wicked this way comes...": "What d'ye think of that now, Flask? Ain't there a small drop of something queer about that, eh? A white whale - did ye ark that, man? Look ye - there's something special in the wind. Stand by for it, Flask. Ahab has that that's bloody on his mind. But, mum. he comes this way."

message 2: by Stephanie (last edited Nov 18, 2011 11:44AM) (new)

Stephanie Bens | 19 comments Yeah, this chapter is meant to be Shakespearean. I forget the exact reference, but Queen Mab is mentioned by one of the characters in Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio I think.
Normally I would be more appreciative of the Shakespearean style here, but I just didn't care for it this time. Probably has more to do with the fact that I read this part late at night and was half asleep. I'll have to re-read it I guess.

message 3: by Stephen (last edited Nov 22, 2011 11:33AM) (new)

Stephen (havan) | 90 comments My favorite quote of this section all things are queer, come to think of ’em.

And I agree that Melville is starting to aspire to Shakespeare. Even down to chapter titles being stage directions...Enter Ahab;

You'll note this section is not being narrated by Ishmael

And how's this for a king and clown confrontation worthy of the bard?
“Am I a cannon-ball, Stubb,” said Ahab, “that thou wouldst wad me that fashion?

Though the clown's response is private... it’s worth a fellow’s while to be born into the world, if only to fall right asleep. And now that I think of it, that’s about the first thing babies do,all things are queer, come to think of ’em. But that’s against my principles. Think not, is my eleventh commandment; and sleep when you can, is my twelfth sounds a bit like Bardoff from Henry V to me.

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