Masked By Vengeance In Herman Melville's Moby Dick

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Masked by Vengeance Herman Melville’s Moby Dick follows the narration of a man calling himself Ishmael, and his encounter with the infamous whale named Moby Dick. When Ishmael boards the whaling boat “The Pequod,” he comes under the command of Captain Ahab whose sole intent in life is to kill the whale that took his leg from him, Moby Dick. While primarily Ishmael only knows this information from rumors among the crew, this information is asserted throughout the novel as Ahab clarifies not only how his leg was taken, but more importantly why he feels it is a necessity to kill the whale. Ahab is so consumed by his feelings of vengeance for Moby Dick that he sees Moby Dick as the epitome of all evil, which is asserted by Ishmael in his observation…show more content…
Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But ‘tis enough.” By saying this, Ahab reveals that Moby Dick is what hinders his own progress. While not admitting to it fully, he shows that he does not grasp a full understanding of why Moby Dick attacked him and caused him to lose his leg. This is his uncertainty, and this is his unknown. It is likely that he is not willing to accept that Moby Dick attacked him for reason. He wants to kill Moby Dick because that will cause the unknown to go away, and he feels that that is the one thing that can finally make him feel at peace with himself. However, his reason for vengeance deepens when he continues to say, “He tasks me; he heaps me; I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him.” Ahab is saying that Moby Dick is a constant burden, and that the whale possesses an evil strength that is unexplainable. Because this causes hate inside of Ahab, Ahab is determined to take out this hatred on the whale. This is further proof that Ahab is unsettled by the unexplainable reason for Moby Dick’s evil. Because this troubles Ahab so much, he internalizes these emotions which in turn cause the “mask” or “wall.” So although much of Ahab’s troubles are self-induced, he blames Moby Dick. And because he sees the whale as the sole infliction of all his pain and sorrow, Ahab views Moby Dick as the embodiment of all evil. This is what creates his strong feelings for

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