Herman Melville’s Moby Dick

This paper discusses Captain Ahab as a romantic hero in Herman Melville’s `Moby Dick`.

This paper explains that one of the ways that Melville’s establishes Ahab’s superiority is by naming his protagonist after a biblical king, Ahab. The author points out that Captain Ahab is the perfect example of a romantic hero because he pursues the whale that in a previous voyage had caused him to lose a leg with a murderous obsession, but he wants only information about the whereabouts of Moby Dick. The paper states that, in Ahab, the reader can see exceptional courage, endurance, strength of purpose, and admirable heroic willpower; but at the same time, he is a destructive madman who has substituted egotism and self-love for the humility and self-abnegation of a true believer.
`Ahab is preeminently fearless, a deep diver, a water-gazer, and a philosophical man given, to symbolic hermeneutics. The shearing off of his leg has brought home to him the problem of evil in the world, has in fact deranged him. For him Moby Dick could be merely a beast, but the creature seems to be much more than that; he may indeed be an agent of a malign power in the universe, the principle of evil itself. Captain Ahab is the dark brooding captain of the Pequod. He is portrayed as a brilliant, creative, sensitive as well as competent captain, yet the dark side of Ahab emerges in his obsession of the white whale, Moby Dick. In his mad pursuit, he does not consider anything or anybody (including his crewmembers) else important.`