Moby Dick is an iconic book that I believe almost everybody has read at least once. Although most people read it when they are young, I recently got the appetite for whale hunting with my buddy Ishmael. However, rereading it as an adult made me realize just how deep the book’s meaning is and how iconic most Moby Dick quotes truly are.
That revelation prompted me to research every little detail about the characters and what they mean. You could say that I got a little obsessed with it, but to be honest, why shouldn’t I be? The book touches every subject from what humanity is, to madness and beyond. It is truly a unique piece of literature that gets even better the more you reread it.
However, it’s hard to convince people to give this book another shot. After all, who has time, except me of course, to reread old childhood books? And that’s when it struck me that a list of Moby Dick quotes might convince people to give this book a try. So let’s jump in and see some of the most important quotes that I collected.
28 Moby Dick Quotes Which You Won’t Forget
Inspirational Moby Dick Quotes
#1. “A noble craft, but somehow a most melancholy! All noble things are touched with that.”
#2. “To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be who have tried it.”
#3. “Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!”
#4. “Book! You lie there; the fact is, you books must know your places. You’ll do to give us the bare words and facts, but we come in to supply the thoughts.”
#5. “However, a good laugh is a mighty good thing, and rather too scarce a good thing; the more’s the pity. So, if any one man, in his own proper person, afford stuff for a good joke to anybody, let him not be backward, but let him cheerfully allow himself to spend and to be spent in that way. And the man that has anything bountifully laughable about him, be sure there is more in that man than you perhaps think for.”
#6. “For there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself.”
#7. “See how elastic our prejudices grow when once love comes to bend them.”
Moby Dick Quotes That Are Iconic
#8. “Doesn’t the devil live forever; who ever heard that the devil was dead? Did you ever see any person wearing mourning for the devil?”
#9. “There she blows!-there she blows! A hump like a snow-hill! It is Moby Dick!”
#10. “Even though white is often associated with things, that are pleasant and pure, there is a peculiar emptiness about the color white. It is the emptiness of the white that is more disturbing, than even the bloodiness of red.”
#11. “I felt a melting in me. No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned against the wolfish world.”
#12. “I leave a white and turbid wake; pale waters, paler cheeks, where’er I sail. The envious billows sidelong swell to whelm my track; let them; but first I pass.”
#13. “Warmest climes but nurse the cruellest fangs: the tiger of Bengal crouches in spiced groves of ceaseless verdure. Skies the most effulgent but basket the deadliest thunders: gorgeous Cuba knows tornadoes that never swept tame northern lands.”
#14. “…that one most perilous and long voyage ended, only begins a second; and a second ended, only begins a third, and so on, for ever and for aye. Such is the endlessness, yea, the intolerableness of all earthly effort.”
Moby Dick Quotes About Humanity
#15. “For all men tragically great are made so through a certain morbidness. Be sure of this, O young ambition, all mortal greatness is but disease.”
#16. “In truth, a mature man who uses hair oil, unless medicinally, that man has probably got a quoggy spot in him somewhere.”
#17. “But vain to popularize profundities, and all truth is profound.”
#18. “Long exile from Christendom and civilization inevitably restores a man to that condition in which God placed him, i.e. what is called savagery.”
#19. “… an utterly fearless man is a far more dangerous comrade than a coward.”
#20. “It’s only his outside; a man can be honest in any sort of skin.”
#21. “I promise nothing complete; because any human thing supposed to be complete, must for that very reason infallibly be faulty.”
#22 “It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him.”
Madness Described By Moby Dick Quotes
#23. “Human madness is oftentimes a cunning and most feline thing. When you think it fled, it may have but become transfigured into some still subtler form.”
#24. “There is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of man.”
#25. “There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness.”
#26. “Is he mad? Anyway, there’s something on his mind, as sure as there must be something on a deck when it cracks.”
#27. “He saw God’s foot upon the treadle of the loom, and spoke it; and therefore his shipmates called him mad. So man’s insanity is heaven’s sense; and wandering from all mortal reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic; and weal or woe, feels then uncompromised, indifferent as his God.”
#28. “All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad.”
Let’s Start Sailing!
The conclusion is that Moby Dick is much more than a simple children’s book. Rereading it at an older age will give anyone a new perspective on the hunt for the famous white whale.
I truly hope that these Moby Dick quotes made at least some of you give the book another shot. And if not, at least know you have a better understanding of its deeper meaning and context.