Character Analysis Father Mapple


A venerable, vigorous man of God, Father Mapple sets the tone for the novel in his sermon at the Whaleman's Chapel (Chapter 9). A harpooner in his youth, the parson frequently alludes to the imagery of seamen in his sermon, referring to the congregation, for example, as his "shipmates." Ascending to his pulpit by climbing a rope ladder like one used to mount a ship from a boat at sea, Mapple appropriately employs, as his text, the Old Testament story of Jonah and the whale. Ahab could benefit from Mapple's theme: "And if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves; and it is in this disobeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God consists."