This essay is written in reply to an article about revolution in Herman Melville's novel, Moby Dick
The most basic, and perhaps most controversial revolution pointed out in Melville's novel, Moby Dick, is that of the sexual revolution. The most obvious hint at this is the "intimate relationship" between the character of Ishmael and Queequeq. The first night Ishmael stay at the Spouter Inn he is forced to become the "bedfellow" of a total stranger. After a brief misunderstanding, or "lover's quarrel", the two men settle down for the night sharing the same bed. The next morning Ishmael awakens to find the arm of his new friend thrown around him in an "affectionate" manner, in other words, they were cuddling. After this first night of misgivings, the two friends grow to love each other, and form a close bond; or as Queeque said, they were now married to each other. This close relationship between the two men hints at a possible scandalous situation, tinged with homoerotic tendencies that would have conflicted with most of society's views in the mid 1800s.
Another intense relationship presented to the reader is that of Captain Ahab and Moby Dick. The old captain's want for revenge is that of an obsession. Obsession, as defined by the fine makers of the Microsoft Bookshelf 2000 Dictionary, is 1. a compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feelings or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety. 2. A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion. This obsession quickly transforms into insanity; and at the end of the book, sure of his death, Captain Ahab throws his life away to try to get revenge on Moby Dick. This willingness to die furthers the intense relationship forged between Captain Ahab and Moby Dick. Even the fact that Captain Ahab lost his leg to the whale symbolizes the act of sexual intercourse. The only way for Captain Ahab to reclaim this piece of himself is to kill Moby Dick, and this is similar to the birthing process, by with the opposite results. This sort of relationship binds Captain Ahab and Moby Dick in a way that borders on bestiality, in that fact that Captain Ahab has a deep fascination with the whale, even is this sort of fascination is based purely on hate. This sort of hatred and obsession was frowned upon by many Christian minds at the time, who viewed this sort of "lust" after revenge to be sinful. It showed that man gave into his dark nature of hate, and that hate was a part of the human soul. This was a concept many people were trying to escape from in the greater want to be open spiritually to God, and not "give in" to the "desires of the flesh", be they for hate or lust.
Another odd relationship in the book is that of Captain Ahab and Pip, the cabin boy. Pip begins as a nonwhite, but civilized character. He is noted as being intelligent and helpful, and Captain Ahab grows rather fond of the boy. In Captain Ahab Pip finds a sort of father figure, and he grows to care about the old man. When Pip loses his mind Captain Ahab's sympathy for the boy increase, and he keeps Pip at his side for a great deal of his ramblings. This practice is similar to that of the Romans, who thought that it was natural for older men to educate younger men about the workings of the mind, and body. This was seen as a quest to find equality, both mentally and physically, since in ancient Rome, women were considered to be weaker and mentally inferior to men. This style of writing is similar to that of Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, or Anthony and Cleopatra, both known for reflective monologs between characters, and the in-depth search into the human psyche. In finding an emotional outlet Captain Ahab develops a pedophiliac fascination with Pip, who sees Captain Ahab as both a friend, and father. He proves that in begging Captain Ahab not to throw his life anyway.
Another relationshop to consider is the closeness of the crewmen on board the Pequod and the other ships. These men are forced into close quarters, and must learn to share life with one another. In a way these men find themselves married to each other. This sort of closeness is projected through most of the novel, and demonstrates a side of Herman Melville's novel focused on brotherhood, unity, love, and these sort of idea focused on people of varied backgrounds. This is the main point of the sexual revolution in the novel Moby Dick, that people of different societies formed bonds that rivaled their culture, but most importantly, rivaled the society Melville lived in.