Moby Dick: King vs. Captain Ahab

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Captain Ahab vs. Moby Dick | Our 15 Favorite Movie & TV Rivalries | Purple Clover

Close Report a review At Kobo, we try to ensure that published reviews do not contain rude or profane language, spoilers, or any of our reviewer's personal information. According to Leon Howard, "Ahab is a Shakespearean tragic hero, created according to the Coleridgean formula. Ahab's speech combines Quaker archaism with Shakespeare's idiom to serve as "a homegrown analogue to blank verse. Ahab's death seems to be based on an actual event.

Aboard were two sailors from the ship Nantucket who could have told him that they had seen their second mate "taken out of a whaleboat by a foul line and drowned, as is Captain Ahab of Moby-Dick. Ahab's character is shaped by mythic and literary patterns that overlap and reinforce each other in such a complementary way that "the apparent irony of one allusion is frequently the truth of another. Ahab is named for the Biblical story of Ahab in the Books of Kings —, the evil idol-worshiping ruler.

This association prompts Ishmael to ask, after first hearing Ahab's name: "When that wicked king was slain, the dogs, did they not lick his blood? For Melville's allegory the single most important thing was that Ahab "did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him" in — Both Ahabs are shrewd in their secular associations.

The captain is successful in whaling, with a record of forty years.

King Ahab, an able politician but a patron of foreign gods, offended Jehovah by introducing Baal as a god. Jehovah tolerated no other gods and contrived with false prophets to destroy King Ahab.

Like his namesake, Captain Ahab worships pagan gods, particularly the spirit of fire. Fedallah the Parsee, his harpooner, is a fire-worshipping Zoroastrian. Fedallah contributes to Ahab's death by forecasting that:. These prophesies, accurate as they may be, deceive Ahab, who perceives them to be an assurance of victory.

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Moby Dick: King vs. Captain Ahab - Dörte Schabsky - Essay - English - Literature, Works - Publish your bachelor's or master's thesis, dissertation, term paper or. Captain Ahab is a fictional character and the main protagonist in Herman Melville 's Moby-Dick . King Ahab, an able politician but a patron of foreign gods, offended Jehovah by introducing Baal as a god. Jehovah tolerated no other gods and.

Charles Olson mentions three modes of madness in King Lear , the King's, the Fool's, and Edgar's, allegorized in the book, with Ahab taking the role of Lear and Pip the roles of both the Fool and Edgar. Olson identifies the typhoon in chapter , "The Candles," with the storm in Lear. On the contrary, this night Ahab uncovers his whole hate. Ahab learns "little or nothing" throughout the book. In "The Candles" Ch Ahab's harpoon is called a "fiery dart.

Tashtego hammers a sky-hawk to the mast: "And so the bird of heaven, with archangelic shrieks, and his imperial beak thrust upward, and his whole captive form folded in the flag of Ahab, went down with his ship, which, like Satan, would not sink to hell till she had dragged a living part of heaven with her, and helmeted herself with it. Ahab's scar may have been modeled on the description of Satan's face in I, —, which "Deep scars of thunder had intrench'd. The greatness and woe of both Satan and Ahab lies in pride.

Ahab's story, caused by Moby Dick biting off his leg, follows the same psychological pattern of being spiritually and physically impaired. Overlapping with Lear, the typhoon scene in "The Candles" also seems to be Melville's recreation of the mythic theft of fire.

Arena Stage seeks adventure on the high seas.

Prometheus accomplished his theft by the stealthy hiding of the divine spark in a fennel stalk. In contrast, "Ahab's theft is a boldly defiant deed, set amidst elemental nature in furious eruption. The hunt for the White Whale, described by Ishmael as "the fiery hunt," thus represents a conflict with a deity—hence the references to Moby Dick as a god. The madness of Io and Pip is caused by their unintentional contact with the primal elements or with the deity.

While on the stage, Io speaks with a disjointed frenzy much the same as Pip's. In "The Candles," Ahab is temporarily stricken by blindness, an allusion to the Oedipus myth. Oedipus' staff, Sweeney notes, is both "a walking tool and the murder weapon with which he killed his father. In addition to this, blindness is alluded to. Oedipus and Ahab are intelligent and ignorant at the same time, excessively proud, and both face a riddle the mystery of evil. The opening chapter contains an extended allusion to "that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned" Ch.

Ahab does not realize that the malice he sees in the White Whale is his own, "wildly projected. The Narcissus myth also explains why Ahab, unlike Oedipus, remains self-ignorant. While two messengers enlight Oedipus and separate him from his obsession, Narcissus and Ahab are never interrupted from theirs.

by Herman Melville

The contrast between Narcissus and Ahab is that the first contemplates a beautiful image which he loves, while Ahab projects an evil image which he hates, which Sweeney calls "an ironic reversal on Melville's part. A subtle connection between Ahab, Moby Dick and Fedallah is formed by the imagery of the brow and forehead.

Every Character in Moby Dick

According to Sweeney, Fedallah is "clearly an external projection of Ahab's own depravity" and at the same time a double of what Ahab finds most evil in the whale. Echo is an auditory complement to the visual reflection and a foreshadowing of Narcissus' death. In the same way Fedallah, who only says what Ahab wants to hear, is an auditory reflection of Ahab's evil, of which Moby Dick is the visual reflection.

Fedallah foreshadows Ahab's death. When the book was first published, reviewers mostly focused on Ahab and the whale. According to George Ripley in Harper's New Monthly Magazine for December , Ahab "becomes the victim of a deep, cunning monomania; believes himself predestined to take a bloody revenge on his fearful enemy; pursues him with fierce demoniac energy of purpose. He exercises a wild, bewildering fascination by his dark and mysterious nature.

During the onset of Melville's rediscovery there was no change of emphasis on Ahab and his struggle with the whale. The first two film adaptations show "the radical surgery that Hollywood performed on Herman Melville's masterpiece. Though in the book Ahab has already lost his leg, in the film a "crude papier mache monster" bites it off.

A Comparison between the Character of Ahab from Melville's Moby Dick and the Biblical King Ahab

Barrymore is also Ahab in the Moby Dick , this time with his voice. Ahab is "shrieking in pain" as the ship's called Mary-Ann blacksmith holds a fiery, hot-bladed tool against his stump. In another diversion from the book, Ahab's sweetheart is the minister's daughter, Faith Mapple. Once again, it became a hit at the box office. In , Orson Welles played Ahab in a filmed production of his play Moby Dick Rehearsed ; however, this film is considered "lost".

Warner Brothers' third effort was directed in by John Huston , with a script by Ray Bradbury , the first serious attempt to follow the book.