With Shakespearean grandeur, Herman Melville envisioned a mad hero whose vengeance against a huge white whale proves fatal. Moby Dick is a tale of comradeship and industry scuttled by one man’s obsession. The quiet seaman Ishmael, and his new friend Queequeg, sign on for a whaling voyage one dreary November day, and the Pequod casts off from Nantucket without Ishmael having lain eyes on the reclusive Captain Ahab. The mates and harpooners seem to know something more of Ahab, who finally emerges from his quarters stamping his wooden leg, extracting a pledge of loyalty from the crew in his hunt for Moby Dick, the whale that took his leg. For a time, all is calm, and Ishmael describes how whales are hunted and divested of sperm oil. The scholarly narrator philosophizes about the relation of man to the sea, as the Pequod draws ever closer to Moby Dick’s native waters. In the horrific climax, Ahab hunts the whale, and in the process destroys every man on ship, except Ishmael, who survives to tell the tale. Readers are forced to conclude that the ambitious man became his own worst enemy, and the classic Moby Dick ends on this tragic note.