Captain Ahab in Herman Melville's Moby Dick

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Who would ever want to be described as mad, cracked, insane or crazy? We aren’t crazy! Crazy is the mother on the news who kills her whole family, the man having a heated conversation with himself on the train and the student who goes to school with a gun and kills all those around him. The world gasps in horror and shakes its head at the mentally ill among us. Yet, how different are those people from us? Who, at one point or another, hasn’t wished that they could rid themselves of their family, had a conversation all of their own in their head, or been so fed up with their circumstances that they thought about doing something wild to get their point across. In Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, it can be argued that more than a few characters exhibit traits of madness. However, the most prominent person perceived as insane is undoubtedly Captain Ahab. He is completely consumed with his obsession for revenge. This obsession defines him; it is inseparably part if his entire being. At first glance, one is quick to judge and condemn Ahab as an insane monster of a man who seems hardly human. Yet upon further examination, one sees Ahab in a different light, not so different from. Ahab’s madness is nothing more than what all of us feel to some extent. The difference between Ahab and any other person is that he had the chance to live out his need for revenge and took it, leading him and many others to a violent and tragic end.
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