Monomania, is the obsession with one subject or idea. In Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick, Captain Ahab, the main character, has a obsession with a white sperm whale called “Moby Dick”. Captain Ahab through his actions, words, and thoughts with Moby Dick means that Captain Ahab is truly monomaniacal.
Ahab is monomaniacal through his words and thoughts. "Talk not to me of blasphemy man, I'd strike the sun if it insulted me." This shows Ahab's madness because only he would say that no matter who it is, great or small, he would stand up to them including Moby Dick. Another event that shows Ahab's monomania is when he talks directly to a dead whale's head, saying "Speak, thou vast and venerable head, mighty head and tell us the secret thing that is in thee...O head!". His obsession leads him to even say that he will pay someone to kill Moby Dick just for the sake of revenge. "Whosoever of ye raises me that same white whale, he shall have this gold ounce, my boys!" When Ahab finally meets Moby Dick, his monomania hits its high point as his last words before his death are "Sink all coffins and hearses to one common pool! And since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!"
Captain Ahab is not only monomaniacal through his words, but through his actions, also. In one incident, Ahab holds Starbuck at gunpoint just because he asked if he could have a crew of men to fix a leak. Ahab also breaks the ship's compass at one point in the story so that the crew learns how the ship moves. He also refuses to recognize the warnings that are presented, he dismisses them without any thought or hesitation because his obsession makes him blind to the reality and stupidity of the search for Moby Dick. Ahab also has no respect for his fellow sailors, as he has manipulated them quite often. Everyone on the Pequod, especially Ishmael, thought that they were going on a normal whaling...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document