Captain Ahab portrayed as monomaniacal in Moby Dick.

Essay by zoltecHigh School, 10th gradeA+, May 2004

download word file, 3 pages 4.0

Monomania, as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, is the pathological obsession with one subject or idea. In Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick, an obsession causes monomania in its main character. Through his actions, words, thoughts, and what others think about him, Captain Ahab is truly monomaniacal.

Ahab is monomaniacal through his words and thoughts. "Talk not to me of blasphemy,man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me." This shows Ahab's madness because only he would have the nerve to say that no matter who it is, great or small, he would stand up to them; this includes Moby Dick. Ahab often smokes a pipe, but he realizes something and says "What business have I with this pipe? This thing that is meant for sereneness, to send up mild white vapors among mild white hairs, not among torn iron-grey locks like mine. I'll smoke no more." He admits that he is not a peaceful man, which is quite monomaniacal.

Another event that shows Ahab's monomania is when he talks directly to a dead whale's head, saying "Speak, thou vast and venerable head, mighty head and tell us the secret thing that is in thee...O head! thou hast seen enough to split the planets and make an infidel of Abraham, and not one syllable is thine!" His obsession leads him to even say that he will pay someone to kill Moby Dick just for the sake of revenge. "Whosoever of ye raises me that same white whale, he shall have this gold ounce, my boys!" When Ahab finally meets Moby Dick, his monomania hits its high point as his last words before his death are "Sink all coffins and hearses to one common pool! And since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while...