Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The symbolism of Captain Ahab in Moby Dick

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The Symbolism of Captain Ahab


The movie, Moby Dick, is directed by John Huston and based upon the novel of Herman Melville written in 1851. In the movie, Captain Ahab symbolizes a variety of different things. He symbolizes the determination of an old sea captain taking vengeance over the White Whale that dismembered him many years prior to his fate, leaving him with a wooden stick to walk upon instead of a human leg. This makes him a bitter man looking forward to nothing else except the death of his rival.


First of all he obviously symbolizes an old sea captain on a ship, giving orders to his crew. Telling them to sail, row or do minor routines on the ship. The vengeance of the whale overtakes him and he takes out his anger on his entire crew. He seeks nothing else except vengeance. Patience is also symbolized in him. He had the patience to travel thousands of miles and months just to get his creature. He also had the patience to wait for the wind to set them a sail when they were stuck in the ocean. He was a very tenacious man. He never gave up, even to jump on the whales side an spearing him several times, risking his own life in the process which took his fate. His stubborness kept him from accepting any anyone elses’ ideas. He was set on the white whale and nothing else.


Resoluteness is symbolized in him. He started out with a plan and wouldn’t accept any other outcome. He promised Spanish gold to the first man who spotted the White Whale. Which signifies his commitment and wanting the crew to desire the whale as much as him.


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His physical apperance and his clothes encompassed and brought out his characteristics. His dark clothes and his raggedy beard brought this out to show his dark character. The bold and confident voice symbolized the role of a sea captain who would have to have the voice to talk loud and with diction to his crew.


Determination is probably the greatest Asset in Captain Ahab. Having only one leg didn’t stop him or slow him down from getting to his goal. He was determined to get the White Whale anyway he could to get it even to walk away from hundreds of other whales that could have made fortune for him back in Massachusetts. He forgot about the other whales and looked only for his prize possession, the White Whale.


Symbolism is involved quite a lot in Captain Ahab in the theatrical production of Moby Dick. He has symbolized several different things, and his actions have made him a very symbolic man of determination and resoluteness. He sought nothing but the White Whale and received death in return. His stubbornness killed him and his crew. Captain Ahab is a man of integrity and determination that never stopped his vengeance for the White Whale.





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