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Moby Dick Composition
Moby Dick is a story about honesty, veangeance, and hate. In this story we find
that the main character Ahab has an undying passion to seek vengeance on a great
white whale by the name of Moby Dick. Through his actions in the story we see that
Ahab represents many things man and the natural instinct to seek vengeance and the
quest to seek truth.
We are introduce to Ahab in the beginning of the story as a man with qualities of
that of a leader; proud, confident, and determined. These qualities override the fact
that Ahab is a one legged man disabled by Moby Dick. Even though this creature of
mother nature has won victory over him once, Ahab continues his battle with Moby
We see Ahab’s true feelings for Moby Dick through his compelling monologues.
Ahab’s true motive for vengeance on Moby Dick seeps through when Starbuck
questions Ahab’s vengeance on the white whale, Ahab states his reason as follows,
“How can a prisoner reach outside by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white
whale is that wall, shoved near to me......I see him in outrageous strength, with an
incredible malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate” (Melville).
From this we see that Ahab’s reason is mainly not the fact that Moby Dick has taken
his leg, but it is the fact that he doesn’t know why he hate’s Moby Dick, he just does.
Not knowing where this hate comes from frustrates him and therefore he must kill the
whale to bring closure to his own issues.
The death of Ahab is also very important symbolizing man’s quest to seek truth at
this point in the story where we see that man is willing to die to find truth. In this case
it is Ahab seeking his reason to hate Moby Dick which he can never find because
Moby Dick is an animal. So Ahab dies wanting to, just so that he can eliminate the
center of his frustrations. We see his intention to die more clearly when Ahab speaks
his lasts words before his death, “Towards the I roll, thou all destroying but
unconquering whale:.......for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee” (Melville). This
actually shows his reason for his hateful vengeance on Moby Dick which is not
knowing why he hated the whale in the first place.
Ahab’s experiences throughout the story can be sought as reference to modern day
man’s behavior. As Ahab did, man in the past and present go to extreme lengths when
it comes to hate, vengeance, and truth. It is these powerful emotions that can cause
the destruction of a man forever.
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Moby-Dick, Captain Ahab, Moby Dick, Ahab, Moby, Adaptations of Moby-Dick, Ishmael
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