Revenge Caused By Injury And It's Consequences In Herman Melville's "Moby Dick"

2969 words - 12 pages

As it is seen in the Bible, under Leviticus 24:19-21, "If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him. Thus the one who kills an animal shall make it good, but the one who kills a man shall be put to death." This is man's view towards taking revenge against each other. But, what happens when it isn't man or woman who has caused the injury? What if it's something much larger and far more dangerous than a mere human being? How does man react to that? In referring to said quote above, it should be "put to death." Such is the case in Herman Melville's Moby Dick. In this story, a crazed captain named Ahab leads his crew of whale hunters on a suicide voyage in search for the elusive whale Moby Dick who severed his leg to the point of amputation. Ahab's true intentions hidden from the clueless crew, as demented captain searches for his new nemesis. As this book shows with the character Ahab, man's monomaniacal thirst for revenge after a personal injury can result in disaster and the loss of the appreciation for the complexities of man versus nature and the nature of man, .First of all, the main character that experiences this thirst for seeking revenge is none other than the notorious Captain Ahab. Ahab is the old, embittered captain of the Pequod. On his most recent journey out into the ocean in order to do his job as a whaler, Ahab loses his leg to the most elusive whale in the sea, Moby Dick. After remaining out of sight on his return to the city of Nantucket, Ahab abruptly appears on the day of the Pequod's launch."He's a queer man, Captain Ahab--so some think--but a good one. Oh, thou'lt like him well enough; no fear, no fear. He's a grand, ungodly, god-like man, Captain Ahab; doesn't speak much; but, when he does speak, then you may well listen. Mark ye, be forewarned; Ahab's been in colleges, as well as 'mong the cannibals... (82, Melville).Captain Peleg's description of Ahab brings forward many details worthy of note. He is described as a man of few words that should be listened to when speaking. Usually, a man of few words only says things of importance and will not repeat what he has said. This gives Ahab a mysterious nature with the idea that he is hiding something. The fact that he has attended college shows that he is an educated and learned man. However, the fact that he had spent time with cannibals shows his aggressive and more uncivilized side. When put together, one sees that this man is well-rounded in having knowledge from both the civilized and uncivilized worlds of humanity. What is derived from this conclusion is that Ahab may be a civilized man, but on the inside, lurks the instinctive and destructive nature also part of the human mind.With everything having a beginning, we find the cause of conflict that causes the yearning for revenge in Ahab towards his appointed nemesis:"Aye, aye,...

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