The Daily Dick: Musings From the Greatest Novel Ever
"But at this critical instant a sudden exclamation was heard that took every eye from the whale. With a start all glared at dark Ahab, who was surrounded by five dusky phantoms that seemed fresh formed out of air."
Musing: It is easy to forget that Moby Dick also contains a bit of a mystery within its pages. Remember the prophet Elijah from the beginning of the book? He tells Ishmael that other men have already boarded the ship, but Ishmael sees no one else on board. Ishmael believes Elijah is crazy, but as soon as Tashtego calls out that a whale has been sighted, these five "dusky phantoms" come out of hiding. Who are they? Why are they with Ahab? What is their role in the book? Do they function as a Greek chorus, or a mirror of the crew, or fate personified. We will find out . . .