Is the Pequod’s ending inevitable? – An argumentation on free will and fate in Melville’s Moby Dick from Ishmael’s perspective

My term paper for module 6 of the seminar “Moby Dick and its Afterlives” will be on whether
the ending of the book could have had a different outcome than it did. For my research, the
novel “Moby Dick” will serve as the basis of my paper. Therefore, I will focus on the character
Ishmael and explain whether, from his point of view, the ship’s sinking could have been
avoided or not. At the end of my paper, I want to show that the ending, according to Ishmael,
was unavoidable, even though in some parts of the story, it seems as if the character had the
chance to act in the manner of his own free will.
I will start with an introduction and explain why I chose this topic and how I will conduct the
research. Next, I will address the theoretical background and define what fate (or determinism)
and free will (indeterminism) are. In the following step, I will examine the passages in which
Ishmael justifies that fate was responsible for the happenings, explaining its determinism, and,
afterward, discern where Ishmael believes that he is acting on the fundament of his own free
will. In the conclusion, I will answer the question of whether the Pequod’s destiny could have
been changed and argue that from Ishmael’s perspective fate drove the crew to its end.
The final version of a list of used sources has not been compiled yet. Certainly, the selection
of sources will change during the process of writing. Whatsoever, as already stated, I will use
the third Norton Critical Edition of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, edited by Hershel Parker
as the main work for my term paper. Moreover, I will use philosophical dictionaries and
encyclopedias for the theoretical definition of terms. Additionally, the use of works solely
focusing on free will and fate should not be neglected. Unfortunately, until this point, I could
not find secondary sources on this specific topic that I could use for my drafting.