All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in
each event — in the living act, the undoubted deed — there, some unknown but
still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the
unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the
prisoner (6) reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the
white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there's naught
beyond. But 'tis enough. He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous
strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is
chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale
principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man;
I'd strike the sun if it insulted me. For could the sun do that, then could I do
the other; since there is ever a sort of fair play herein, jealousy presiding
over all creations. But not my master, man, is even that fair play. Who's over
me? Truth hath no confines.
"Aye, aye! It was that accursed white whale that razeed me; made a poor pegging lubber of me for ever and a day!" Then tossing both arms, with measureless imprecations he shouted out: "Aye, aye! and I'll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition's flames before I give him up. And this is what ye have shipped for, men! to chase that white whale on both sides of land, and over all sides of earth, till he spouts black blood and rolls fin out."