Moby Dick, one of the greatest works of American literature written, and Jaws, one of the nations top selling blockbuster movies, can both be considered masterpieces of their time. Written by different authors, in completely different time frames, these two classics still manage to share dozens of similar themes and plots. Perhaps Jaws was written off from Moby Dick, but the differences between the two make it hard to tell.
To describe the character similarities between Moby Dick and Jaws, the easiest between the two to compare are probably Ishmael, a common sailor aboard the Pequod, and Brody, the Sheriff of Amity Island. These two characters both have a definite aura of goodness about them. Although anything but sinless and perfect, the two both seem to be able to judge things without prejudice, and have a very clear sense of right from wrong. Ishmael is one of the few characters in Moby Dick who is able to pull away from the overwhelming excitement of hunting down the white whale. He cannot completely ignore this atmosphere, but is still capable of seeing the danger and obsession that the voyage and its sailors present. In Jaws, after the first shark attack, Chief Brody immediately tries to close down the beaches to prevent more deaths. However, because of the greed present among its constituents and imminent danger to the welfare of the town, his actions are terminated. When still more citizens become victim to the white shark, the blame is quickly shifted from the cause, to Sheriff Brody. Ishmael and the Chief also share the quality of a likeness to immortality. Of the entire crew of the Pequod, Ishmael is the lone survivor, saved only by the coffin of his close friend. In the movie, both characters Brody and Matt Hooper are able to escape from death, while the lives of Quint, Alex, the young woman and a few others are all lost.
The dual characters of Ahab, captain of the Pequod, and Quint, master of the Orca, also have much in common. Both individuals specialize in killing fish, one with whales, and the other mainly with sharks. From the moment Ahab is introduced, his obsession with killing Moby Dick is clear. From his motivational words of Moby Dick's death to his crew, to offering gold coins for whoever succeeded in killing the whale, Ahab's revenge to his enemy is obvious. In Jaws, Quint is more interested in the money he receives from the island of Amity, then the reality of his job. He remains skeptic and refuses to guarantee much throughout the first half of the movie, but his obsession to kill the only intelligent shark he has ever seen continues to grow. Both characters eventually die because of this shared trait of obsession, and the existence of their ships and crew pay dearly as well.
Queequeg is one of the most definite symbols of loyalty in the entire book of Moby Dick. He first takes Ishmael under his wing, insures him a job aboard the Pequod, and repeatedly shows his generosity and patience to mankind. Queequeg's character also showed intense beliefs, and stubbornness for those ideas he followed. When Ahab refuses to help the captain of the Rachel find his lost son, Queequeg refuses to keep harpooning aboard the ship. The personality of Matthew Hooper shares little with that of Queequeg. He cares not for the lives of those in Amity, he boards the Orca only for his passion of learning about sharks. His traits are not kind and generous, because he continued to pick arguments with Brody and Quint. However, Hooper and Queequeg shared the quality of stubbornness. From the refusal to help Ahab after he abandons Pip, to the insistence of bringing the shark cage aboard the Orca, these two characters continually demonstrate their willfulness. Another thing they have in common is their expertise. Queequeg is paid an obscene amount of money for his ability to harpoon whales easily, and Hooper, who has studied for years about the characteristics and attributes of sharks, mainly the great white.
The Pequod versus the Orca is one of the easiest comparisons between Moby Dick, and Jaws. The two ships were different in size and structure obviously, and they