Captain Ahab and Moby Dick Essay
1234 Words5 Pages
Captain Ahab and Moby Dick:
Literary critics point to a variety of themes and juxtapositions when analyzing Herman Melville's “Moby Dick”. Some see the land opposed to the sea or Fate opposed to free will. Most mention man versus nature or good versus evil. A perspective that seems overlooked though is the perspective of the self and the other. The self and other is when one discovers the other (something not us) within oneself, when one realizes that one is not a single being alien to anything that is not them. There are many such relationships throughout the book, such as that of Ishmael and Queequeg and Ahab and Starbuck. However, this paper will focus on the essential relationship, which is of Ahab and Moby-Dick.
By recognizing the…show more content…
In essence, Ahab makes Moby-Dick what he is.
In chapter 99 “The Doubloon” Melville again shows Ahab’s madness. Since Ahab hasn’t yet been able to destroy the whale, he offers any member of the crew who can destroy the whale an expensive coin. In the following chapter, Ahab is confronted with Enderby someone who seems to symbolize rationality. However, Ahab refuses to listen. Here Melville again shows that Ahab is totally consumed with destroying the whale, and that Moby-Dick is also a merciless creature, since Enderby lost one of his arms to him. However, Enderby does not feel the same fury that Ahab does, which is why I said he seems to symbolize rationality and this rationality mirrors Ahab’s obsession. Enderby has comes to terms with Moby-Dick and his experience with him. He did not fill in the blanks, as Ahab has done. If Enderby could get over it Ahab could too, but he doesn’t, this foreshadows destruction and it also brings light to the extent of Ahab’s madness.
Moby-Dick might symbolize evil and if so Ahab's obsession to kill Moby-Dick is evil as well in my opinion. This goes back to what I said in the beginning, that it seems evident that the other exists within the self. The evil that Moby-Dick appears to have is the evil within Captain Ahab. Ahab cast his own feelings and instincts onto Moby-Dick, because Ahab can not accept himself as he is.
The disgrace of Moby-Dick was created, to some degree, by Captain
Essay about Ambiguity in Moby Dick
1339 Words6 Pages
In his novel Moby Dick, Herman Melville seeks to explore the ambiguities of good versus evil, as well as the ambiguities within man himself. Melville treats the open ocean and the Pequod, a whaling vessel, as a microcosm of society in order to explore the true nature of humanity. During this journey the reader is introduced to two integral characters: Ishmael and Ahab. While the two may seem polar opposites in terms of personality and aspirations, it is with Ishmael and Ahab the Melville illuminates attributes intrinsic to humanity as a whole.
Ishmael is introduced to the reader as a contemplative, if not melancholy, young man. He is drawn to the sea as a means to escape the monotony of every day life, and cherishes it as a “substitute…show more content…
However, whereas the Elijah of the Bible was a powerful, assertive man known for his ability to call fire down from the heavens, Melville’s prophet is described as merely a shabbily dressed, small pox scarred “humbug”(CITE). Still, though, the sentiment remains that Elijah’s foreboding warning serves as a dismal beginning to Ishmael’s voyage on the ship. Equally troubling is this Elijah’s exclamation that the soul is “a sort of a fifth wheel to a wagon” (CITE) seemingly implying that the accountability and emotions intrinsic to a soul would be an inconvenience to anyone boarding the Pequod. This direct differentiation between Melville’s Elijah and the Biblical Elijah seems representative of a defeat of some sort, suggesting that contrary to the Biblical result in which good triumphs over evil, Ishmael’s journey may not be as concrete, introducing the first of many ambiguities that Ishmael will encounter throughout the novel.
This level of foreboding uncertainty is soon increased by the appearance of the mysterious Ahab. However, as per his character, he does not greet his crew at the beginning of their voyage, but rather issues his commands through other officers without ever coming into view. After a few days on the ship, Ahab seems to materialize on the deck. Seeing this, Ishmael grows cold and awestruck, stating “reality outran apprehension” (CITE). It is at this time that Ishmael is able to finally assess the figure of his hitherto ethereal leader, and notes