Moby Dick

The Romantic Struggle in Moby-Dick College

In Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, the struggle between the Romantic, religious, and at times over-emotional intent of characters and their reasonable nature creates the complexities faced on the Pequod, the ship captained by Ahab. This competition sharpens with the believed influence of God in the issues of man, shown by the multitude of appeals by characters like Ahab. Romanticism, after all, allows one to ignore the factual reality of events that occur and instead lets one assign one’s own values and meanings to situations.

On the third and last day of the chase for Moby-Dick, Ahab defines the dichotomy found in man while searching for a sight of the whale: “Here’s food for thought, had Ahab time to think; but Ahab never thinks; he only feels, feels, feels; that’s tingling enough for mortal man! to think’s audacity. God only has that right and privilege. Thinking is, or ought to be, a coolness and a calmness; and our poor hearts throb, and our poor brains beat too much for that” (419). The repetition of “think” in the monologue emphasizes the distinction from the other repeated word “feel”. Ahab means to clearly demonstrate a duality that exists within a person regarding emotion, or Romanticism, and thought, or reason....

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