Symbolism of Ahab I think that Ahab symbolizes revenge, and the evil that man really is. Ahab has been mauled by the great white whale Moby Dick who represents nature. Therefore, nature, which is not always good, as the transcendentalists feel but, is rather grim and angry. Thus, as Ahab was wronged by nature he feels he needs to seek revenge on it.
In a sense the whale represents the evil in nature and how it is not always sunshine with a light breeze. However, nature is nasty and angry and seeks to destroy mankind. Ahab who has been involved in an incident with nature now seeks revenge on the evil that is in nature. Ahab throws out all sense that is in man and stops at nothing to find this evil part of nature and destroy it. It doesn't mean anything to Ahab if his men are in harms way during his journey to destroy the evil.
He is willing to sacrifice men in his clash with nature with no remorse.
It is so obvious to me that Ahab is just seeking revenge on this whale (nature) when Ahab is willing to pay a man a gold coin just for the mere sight of the whale. This story shows how when a man is filled with the evil of revenge he throws all logic out the window. While, Ahab's men are finding whales at outrageous numbers Ahab makes them cut the whales loose so they could find the Great White Whale. Thus, he left all these whales that would have provided him and his crew with a substantial amount of money just so he would be able to seek revenge on the whale which had wronged him.
When Ahab and his crew came in contact with Moby DickAhab leaves his crew and jumps onto the back of the whale. While, Ahab is on the back of the whale he uses the evil revenge that's inside of him to continually stab the whale. However, the whale is not affected by the continual stabbing because he represents nature and there is no way to hurt nature. The whale puts the stabbing aside and brings the whale down into the sea where Ahab gets tangled in the ropes and hangs to death. Thus, Ahab has become another victim of nature, and nature has killed another evil human being.
In conclusion, Melville uses symbolism in the novel Moby Dick to get his point across that man is evil and so is nature. This novel shows how you cannot look inside nature for answers like the transcendentalists did because nature is just as evil as mankind.