Ahab’s Pride: His Evil Vehicle to the World Below
In Herman Melville’s Moby Dick the reader embarks on a journey narrated by a man in search of his soul and led by a man in search of the destruction of evil. Captain Ahab of the whaling ship the Pequod is a man whose heart is driven by revenge and a monomania that brings on the destruction of the Pequod and all but one member of her crew. He is looking to destroy the abominable White Whale, the Evil of the Earth, Moby Dick. This drive, in which Ahab believes he is doing good to the world by ridding it of this devilish creature, truly brings Ahab to commit the ultimate sin, pride, and become the evil of Christianity, he turns his back on God and follows in the footsteps of Lucifer himself. The twisted satanic based relationship between Ahab and Moby Dick starts as an unnoticeable aspect in the story and slowly grows until, like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the full presence of the Devil can be felt and seen in every move made by both Captain Ahab and Moby Dick.
“Idle hands are the Devil’s tools,” a quote taken from the mouths of Grandmother’s across the world might better be applied to the novel, by saying, “A man without drive will be driven by the Devil,” as Ahab was. Ahab the reader assume at one point in his life had a life of what might be considered a normal life. However, it is apparent that when Moby Dick took Ahab’s leg there was nothing more important in his life than revenge. The reader can assume that his wife and children obviously to a back seat to Moby Dick. “Aye, Starbuck; aye, my hearties all round; it was Moby Dick that dismasted me; Moby Dick that brought me to this dead stump I stand on now. Aye, aye, he shouted with a terrific, loud, …
…ing star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations,” (Bible Isaiah 14:12). Ahab does not fall from heaven, but from Earth even further bellow, his sinful nature does not permit him to join the angels of heaven above. “‘I turn my body from the sun,'” (Melville 538). Ahab’s final words speak of him turning his back on the sun, the greatest source of light on Earth, and turning to the depths of Hell. He was no match for his nemesis Moby Dick and took his final plunge into the ocean with him, a fitting ending for a man drowned to death long prior by his obsession and sin of pride. Ahab’s body drowned, just as his soul had when Moby Dick first took his leg.
Melville, Herman. Moby Dick. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
New American Standard Bible. Reference ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1975.