On a previous voyage, Captain Ahab lost his leg to Moby Dick, a monstrous white whale. Now, bent on vengeance against the white whale. Now, bent on vengeance against the whale, Ahab leads the crew of the "Pequod on a pursuit that features constant adventure and horrendous mishaps. On its surface, "Moby-Dick is a vivid documentary of life aboard a nineteenth-century whaler, a virtual encyclopedia of whales and whaling. But as the quest for the whale becomes increasingly perilous, the tale works on allegorical levels, likening the whale to human greed, moral consequence, good, evil, and life itself. "Moby-Dick was publicly derided during its author's lifetime, yet Melville's great American novel has survived to become a classic of epic proportions.