In what way is Moby Dick an allegory, and list some symbolic meanings of the white whale Moby Dick.thanks!!

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There can be many answers to such a question, enhanced only by the complex nature of the work.  One way that Melville's work succeeds as an allegory is through the examination of the relationship between individual and nature.  There is a very strong element of allegory or symbolic analysis present when analyzing how Ahab appropriates the natural world.  Similar to America itself at the time of Westward Expansion and Industrial growth, there is a clear parallel in how Ahab approaches the idea of that which lies outside his control.  His stubbornness and determination are both examples of his strong qualities, but also representative of absolute terror in that he never relents in his hope to control an aspect of nature, an element that lies outside his control and exacts much in the way of human cost.  Another allegorical relationship concerns the idea of pursuing dreams.  On one level, dreams animate and inspire Ahab, as his dream of catching this whale are the source of his action.  Yet, Ahab becomes victimized and crushed, literally, by the weight of his own dreams.  In the process, the novel reminds us how dreams have to have some level of control for we should always control them, as opposed to them controlling us.