The Homer of the Pacific: Melville’s Art and the Ambiguities of Judging Evil

Writing in 1952 of Herman Melville’s work and its significance, Albert Camus praised Melville as the “Homer of the Pacific.” Such Olympian fame was deserved, Camus wrote, because “[i]f it is true that talent recreates life, while genius has the additional gift of crowning it with myths, Melville is first and foremost a creator of myths.” This essay concerns one aspect of those myths, Melville’s exploration of man’s struggle with the injustice and evil that originates from both within and without himself, and asserts its relevance to an understanding of the judicial process.