The Whale was published in London in October 1851 by Herman Melville and was renamed Moby-Dick a month later. The narrator, sailor Ishmael, tells the story of the obsessive quest of Captain Ahab, seeking revenge against the giant sperm whale, Moby Dick, for biting off his leg on his previous voyage.
Herman Melville based his novel on an incident that took place in 1820 off the coast of Massachusetts. Captain George Pollard Jr. was aboard the Essex when a sperm whale attacked and sunk the ship. He survived and returned to captain a 2nd ship called the Two Brothers. Two years later that ship was wrecked on a coral reef. Captain George Pollard Jr was marked as unlucky at sea. No owner would ever trust him to captain a ship again. He lived the rest of his life as the village night watchman. Herman Melville also followed a story about an aggressive whale found off the coat of Chile. His name was Mocha Dick and was believed to live during the early 19th century.
Moby Dick has been regarded as one of the greatest American novels. The complexity of this novel has generated multiple interpretations. Many characters share names with figures in the Abrahamic religions. For example, Ishmael was the illegitimate sone of Abraham, Ahab was a wicked king who led the Israelites into a life of idolatry, and the ship, Rachel, was named after Joseph’s mother who is depicted as a loving mother.
Since the 19th century, there have been many creative adaptions of this novel. In 1926, Millard Webb directed a silent film called The Sea Beast which portrayed Ahab as a heroic whaler who slays the whale and returns home to his love. This silent film set the foundation of several other loose adaptions including tv series, radio broadcasts, stage productions, comics, novels, and various other projects.
The De Carlini Moby Dick Whale Christmas Ornament is painted white with iridescent glitter.
The De Carlini Captain Ahab Christmas Ornament is decorated with a blue jacket with a wooden peg leg and holding a whaling harpoon.