* CrazyAwesome: Ahab. It is because of his insane obsession with Moby Dick that he created charts accurately mapping the annual movements of the whales, allowing them to follow the herd, kill as they go and fill their hold in record time. His insanity also wins over his crew and makes them all (save for Starbuck) extremely loyal and invested in the hunt for Moby Dick.
* FairForItsDay: To modern readers, the three harpooneers can come across as caricatures of Africans (Daggoo), Native Americans (Tashtego) and Polynesians (Queequeg), respectively. However, Melville makes them all sympathetic characters and Ishmael frequently talks about how they're NotSoDifferent from white men.
--->"Better to sleep next to a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian."
** Through most of ''Moby-Dick'', the sperm whale was a monster, the legendary leviathan to be hunted down and killed for its oil and spermaceti. Melville admonshed people not to burn sperm-candles or lamp oil recklessly, not because he wished to spare the whales' lives, but because so many human sailors died every year on whaling expeditions. In the modern world, just about every species of whale is endangered, and whaling was one of the main reasons for their dangerously low numbers in the wild; "save the whales" is a rallying cry more people support than oppose. Yet at the time the story was written, whale populations were much larger, and nothing was known of whalesong or other such indicators of cetacean intelligence.
** Ishmael and Queequeg. They're even "married".
** The most egregious examples of this appear in the chapter called "A Squeeze of the Hand", which is about the delights of immersing one's hands in sperm whale oil and kneading it to keep it liquid.
--->"Come; let us squeeze hands all round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness."
** Far, far more egregious are the detailed descriptions of Ishmael's and Queequeg's sleeping arrangements:
--->Upon waking next morning about daylight, I found Queequeg's arm thrown over me in the most loving and affectionate manner. You had almost thought I had been his wife.
** Captain Ahab and Starbuck had a bit of this going on. Mixed with FoeYay, since it's Starbuck who intended to shoot sleeping Ahab a little earlier.
--->“Starbuck, of late I’ve felt strangely moved to thee; ever since that hour we both saw—thou know’st what, in one another’s eyes".
* OneSceneWonder: Father Mapple in the film versions, as played by OrsonWelles (1956), [[RemakeCameo Gregory Peck]] (1998), and Donald Sutherland (2011).
* TheScrappy: Ishmael in the 2011 version.
* WeirdAlEffect: More people have heard of Captain Ahab than have heard of the Biblical King Ahab from which he got his name.
** As Captain Peleg points out early on, Ahab did not choose his name, and he shouldn't think too much about it.