Moby Dick Quotes on Misery with a Hint of Beauty

For some, revenge is an emotion strong enough to take over the rest of their lives. Moby-Dick revolves around this obsessive quest of Ahab who vows to kill Moby-Dick, the legendary Great White Whale, to avenge his missing leg.

Narrated by Ishmael, the sole survivor of a whaling vessel called the Pequod, the novel is a story of the ordeal, beauty, and mania. Explore these Moby Dick quotes to get a gist of the madness infused in its 135 chapters.

31 Moby-Dick Quotes Crucial to Mankind and Literature

Moby Dick Quotes That Inspire You and Make You Believe in Yourself

#1. “I try all things, I achieve what I can.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#2. “I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#3. “Ignorance is the parent of fear.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#4. “Let faith oust fact; let fancy oust memory; I look deep down and do believe.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Moby Dick Quotes on Truth and Wisdom

#5. “But vain to popularize profundities, and all truth is profound.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#6. “Think not, is my eleventh commandment; and sleep when you can, is my twelfth.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#7. “It is the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he had a great secret in him.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#8. “In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely and without a passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#9. “Wonderfullest things are ever the unmentionable; deep memories yield no epitaphs” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#10. “See how elastic our prejudices grow when once love comes to bend them.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Moby Dick Quotes Philosophy and Beyond the Natural

#11. “There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#12. “Ahab is for ever Ahab, man. This whole act’s immutably decreed. ‘Twas rehearsed by thee and me a billion years before this ocean rolled. Fool! I am the Fates’ lieutenant, I act under orders.'” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#13. “There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#14. “A noble craft, but somehow a most melancholy! All noble things are touched with that.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#15. “Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#16. “Top-heavy was the ship as a dinnerless student with all Aristotle in his head.” ― Melville, Moby-Dick

Moby Dick Quotes That Mention Hell

#17. “In one word, Queequeg, said I, rather digressively; hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple-dumpling; and since then perpetuated through the hereditary dyspepsias nurtured by Ramadans.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#18. “To the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Moby Dick Quotes on Madness

#19. “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.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#20. “Give not thyself up, then, to fire, lest it invert thee, deaden thee, as for the time it did me. There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#21. “There is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of man.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#22. “All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Moby Dick Quotes on Religion

#23. “Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#24. “Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#25. “And Heaven have mercy on us all―Presbyterians and Pagans alike―for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Moby Dick Quotes Displaying Strong Metaphor

#26. “It is the horrible texture of a fabric that should be woven of ships’ cables and hawsers. A Polar wind blows through it, and birds of prey hover over it.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#27. “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!” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Other Moby Dick Quotes

#28. “From beneath his slouched hat Ahab dropped a tear into the sea; nor did all the Pacific contain such wealth as that one wee drop.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#29. “It is not down on any map; true places never are.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#30. “As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

#31. “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.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick


Moby-Dick remains a book of study in universities around the world nearly 2 centuries after it has been published. The author successfully managed to hold onto his reader with this masterpiece. These Moby Dick quotes are proof of exactly that.

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