Ishmael
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Quotes for
Ishmael (Character)
from Moby Dick (1956)

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Moby Dick (1956)
Ishmael: Ehhhh, you can't fool us; it's the easiest thing in the world for a man to look as if he's got a great secret in him.
Elijah: I have, lad, I have. At sea one day, you'll smell land where there'll be no land, and on that day Ahab will go to his grave, but he'll rise again within the hour. He will rise and beckon. Then all - all save one shall follow. (Slinking away with a smile on his face) Mornin', lads... mornin'. May the heavens bless you.

Ishmael: [in voice-over narration] He did not feel the wind, or smell the salt air. He only stood, staring at the horizon, with the marks of some inner crucifixion and woe deep in his face.

[first lines]
Ishmael: [voiceover] Call me Ishmael.

Ishmael: Queequeg, such behavior isn't Christian. In fact, it's downright pagan and heathenish.

Ishmael: [seeing Moby Dick for the first time] Is it real? Do you see it, too?
The Manxman, a sailor: We all see it. That don't make it real.

Ishmael: [in voiceover, about Starbuck] His courage was one of the great staples of the ship, like beef or flour. There, when required, and not to be foolishly wasted.

Ishmael: [in voice-over narration] Long days and nights we strained at the oars while a white whale swam freely on, widening the waters between himself and Ahab's vengeance.

[last lines]
Ishmael: [voiceover] The coffin. Drowned Queequeg's coffin was my life buoy. For one whole day and night , it sustained me on that soft and dirge-like main. Then, a sail appeared; It was the Rachel. The Rachel who in her long melancholy search for her missing children found... another orphan. The drama's done. All are departed away. The great shroud of the sea rolls over the Pequod, her crew, and Moby Dick. I only am escaped... alone, to tell thee.


"Moby Dick" (1998)
Peter Coffin: You a commadore, then, or a cook?
Ishmael: No, a simple sailor, jumping from spar to spar like a grasshopper in a May meadow. Very much like a slave. But who isn't a slave? Tell me that.
Peter Coffin: I suppose you're going whaling, then?
Ishmael: Aye. Would you be having a room for a simple sailor, Mr. Coffin?
Peter Coffin: Aye, if you've no objection to sharing a blanket with a simple harpooner.

Ishmael: It seems a trifle small for two grown men.
Peter Coffin: Well, if you're going to go whaling, you better get used to that sort of thing. Why, look at that bed. It's the biggest bed in the house. I've soundly slept in that bed many a night. Plenty of room!
Ishmael: Mind you, I'm not complaining, Mr. Coffin, it's just I'd like to know what sort of man I'd be sharing it with.
Peter Coffin: Well, uh, the harpooner I may be able to find someplace else for tonight.

Queequeg: I killee!
Peter Coffin: Now, Queequeg, stop that!
Ishmael: Why didn't you tell me that this harpooner I'd be sharing a bed with is a cannibal, for God's sake?
Peter Coffin: Now, listen to me, Queequeg. You savvy me, I savvy you. This lad sleep here in this bed with you. You savvy?
Queequeg: Me savvy plenty.

Ishmael: What the devil's the matter with you?
Queequeg: Ishmael no want go on ship with Queequeg?
Ishmael: No. I mean, yes, of course I do. But you would be better suited to pick out a whaler that's suited for both of us, not I, and I shall certainly not take your money. Queequeg, I fear I must make a confession. I used to be a schoolteacher. Do you know what that is?
Queequeg: Aye. Missionary.
Ishmael: No. Well, not exactly. What I'm trying to say is that I've never jumped a spar in my life.
Queequeg: Ishmael no sailor?
Ishmael: Aye. Me no sailor. It's just that I have this burning desire to go to sea.
Queequeg: Me Ojo savvy. Ishmael pick ship. Ishmael pick ship.

Capt. Peleg: What do you know about whaling?
Ishmael: Nothing, sir. But I want to see what whaling is. I want to see the world.
Capt. Peleg: Can't you see the world from where you stand, young man? You want to see what whaling is, do you? Are you man enough to pitch a harpoon down a live whale's throat and jump after it?
Ishmael: Well, I am, sir, if it be absolutely indispensible that I do so.
Capt. Peleg: I'll tell you this: There's death in this business, young man.

Queequeg: Ishmael, what is soul?
Ishmael: Soul? Well, that's a difficult question. Do you believe in God? Like a big chief over all men?
Queequeg: Like Ojo?
Ishmael: Well, I reckon so, but bigger than that, like a captain of the sun.


The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Captain Nemo: This is my first mate.
Ishmael: Call me Ishmael, please.

Ishmael: Shall I wait, Captain?
Captain Nemo: No, bring my lady to me.

Ishmael: That Skinner's got a lot to answer for!
Dorian Gray: Not Skinner - me!
[raises his gun and shoots Ishmael]