Moby Dick

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 19
  • Published : May 13, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
Ahab as Symbol

The character of Ahab has been interpreted as a symbol of human suffering. Because Melville created him as a broken man who left his lag .He is ungodly and always abuses his crews to relieve his anger. And he shows many dimension of the dark side of human nature. The captain looks like a man "cut away from the stake, when the fire has overrunningly wasted all the limbs without consuming them, or taking away one particle from their compacted aged robustness." and later goes on to say, he “seemed made of solid bronze, and shaped in an unaltered mold.” These two passages portray Ahab as a man who has remained “whole” through trying situations. This shows how people are damaged throughout their lifetime, whether by accidents, deaths, or circumstance, but remain rational and essentially good. However the striking feature that distinguishes Ahab is the white streak that travels “from his crown to sole,” seemingly splitting him into two pieces. It is not actually stated whether he was born with this mark or he acquired it from an event in his life, but it represents the division of a man’s reasoning, one influenced by evil and clouded judgement, the other by good. Starbuck accuses the captain of blasphemy for seeking revenge against a "dumb brute . . . that simply smote thee from blindest instinct". For Ahab, blasphemy is no vice. He would "strike the sun if it insulted me." The captain wants to take on the structure of nature, even God himself. To him, Moby Dick is not just some dumb brute. The White Whale is a façade, a mask, behind which lurks the "inscrutable thing," the force that is Ahab's true enemy. Ahab is certain that the force is evil. Others find the evil in Ahab's ego, in his own soul. The captain is no stereotype and certainly is no ordinary man. He is a complicated, deep, tortured soul. Even though he knows he is mad, he cannot stop himself. Ahab contemplates the beauties as...
tracking img