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白鲸英文读后感及白鲸英文论文资料

更新时间:2010-4-29:  来源:毕业论文

白鲸英文读后感及白鲸英文论文资料
 摘要霍麦尔维尔的《白鲸》是美国浪漫主义小说的代表作,主人公亚哈船长是个性格特征极其复杂的人物。其性格特征与其个人命运有着密切的联系。本论文主要通过对亚哈的极端个人主义、骄傲专横、自负及缺乏理发自律等性格特征进行探究分析,来解读他的悲剧命运。

  关键词: 《白鲸》;亚哈;性格;命运

  AbstractMoby Dick is the masterpiece of Herman Melville in the Romantic period of America. Character captain Ahab has complicated personality features, which has initiate relations with his own destiny. This paper mainly analyzes and explores Ahab’s personalities such as exteme individualism, pride, tyranny, overconfidence, lacking rational self-discipline, etc. It tries to interpret Ahab’s tragic destiny by way of analyzing his personalities.

  Key words: Moby Dick; Ahab; personality; destiny

  Contents

  Acknowledgement i

  摘要.. ii

  Abstract iii

  Contents iv

  Introduction. 1

  Chapter One An extreme individualist 2

  1.1 A self-centered and cold-blooded avenger 2

  1.2 An arrogant and tyrannical overconfident person. 4

  Chapter Two A reason-lost person—the destroyer of natural rule 8

  2.1 Lacking rational self-discipline 8

  2.2 A Violator of the permanent natural law. 12

  Chapter Three Archetype——Character——Fate 16

  3.1 Ahab from the Bible 16

  3.2 Ahab in the Moby Dick. 17

  3.3 The Contrast between King Ahab and Captain Ahab. 19

  Conclusion. 20

  Reference 21

  IntroductionHerman Melville was a very important romanticist in the American literary scene in 19th century. Moby Dick is his masterwork, though it did not gain much attention and fame from his contemporaries then. However, regarded as the "Hamlet" of America, Moby Dick has become the greatest work of America nowadays. It recounts a soul-stirring story, which shows us the tragic course of the whale, the whaling vessel—Pequod,and its crew resulting from Captain Ahab’s crazy revenge on Moby Dick , the white whale .

  Presently, there are mainly two kinds of research on Moby Dick in the critical circles. One is the analysis of the plot and the narrative structure of this novel. The other is the analyses of the personages’ symbolic meaning. Yet it is a common sense that one's temperament determines one's fate. The protagonist, in Moby Dick, Ahab, possesses an extremely complicated character feature, which has close connection with his tragic destiny. This thesis focuses on discussing Captain Ahab's tragic fate caused by his insane and irrational perseverance, which is the vital defect in his character, on destroying Moby Dick, the Great Whale.

  

  Chapter One An extreme individualist1.1 A self-centered and cold-blooded avenger As the main character in Moby Dick, through the whole story, it is obvious that all happenings are in the charge of Ahab whose only purpose is to pursue the evil Moby Dick, a white whale who has taken his leg away in a hunting. A captain should pay attention to his crew's benefits. The appointed economic aim is to earn more and more money to keep their daily lives and some other uses. But Ahab's purpose is just to revenge on the white whale, the only evil for him, and slay it. In order to realize his dream, he employs pagans secretly, equips himself with his own boat, lies in the bed merely for 3 hours, calculates the marine chart, studies all kinds of air lines without consideration of others.

  As an individual, he may try to be a loner. He seldom talks to other people, and just stays in his own little cabin. Ahab talks primarily to himself, addressing others only in the line of duty to his overarching obsession. As in “The Quarter-Deck”, he ignites the crew with his maniacal zeal. Although he must lose language to achieve his ends, Ahab’s authority over the crew finally depends less on his verbal discourse than on the discourse of ritual, dramatic action he manipulates so skillfully. Accordingly, Ahab appears as a man, incapable of dialogue, for conversation as a social medium requires at least the equality of a shared discourse, even if not of a shared social status, and Ahab shares neither. Even when he appears to converse, Ahab places his interlocutor at such a distance that, like the carpenter, he is justified in asking, “What’s he speaking about, and who is he speaking to?”(Melville, 1967:487) Only with Fedallah does he seem to enjoy the communion of genuine dialogue, but finally as the quest for Moby Dick reaches its climax, they yoke together, as if driven by an unseen tyrant. Ahab’s individualism can be revealed by the relationship between his crew and him, that of employee and employer. He seldom says unnecessary words to them except the commands. For most times, he just shows his indifference to them, or even to be a stranger to them.

  His cold-blooded nature demonstrates when the captain of Rachel tries to beg Ahab to help him search for his missing son with tears in his eyes, “My boy, my own boy is among them. For God’s sake—I beg, I conjure”. But “Avast,” cries Ahab, “touch not a rope-yard.”(Melville, 1967:545) Ahab refuses his begging cruelly, focusing on chasing the white whale. Driven by the sense of revenge, he loses love, sanity, charity, and humanity, and can not tell what is right and what is wrong, seeing indifferently a young life destroyed before him. What he concerns with is to hunt, catch and kill the whale, which makes him become blind, indifferent, ruthless, and cold-blooded. When encountering with other ships, he just asks them something about the whale. On his voyage, he hopes that he can come across the whale as soon as possible, for his only purpose is to take revenge on it and to slay it. His indifference, ruthlessness, and vengeance make him take his final step that he will not stop without the whale. And this leads him to his tragic destiny gradually.

  Ahab has his own family, his wife and his little daughter, but in order to take his revenge on Moby Dick, he pays little attention to his family and takes less care of them. He will never think the future life of his family. Maybe he wants to, but he cannot. He is driven by the revenge to become a devilish creature, completely, losing rationality and humanity. His extreme self-centered and cold-blooded character dominate and rule him orderly, he can not escape from it. To some extent, he loses the loving relationship with his surroundings, which makes him more self-centered and cold-blooded, only remembering how much Moby Dick has done harm to and hurt him

  Now Ahab has become extremely individual and lonely, who has only one dream and purpose in his life—to pursue an unreal devilish Moby Dick.

  1.2 An arrogant and tyrannical overconfident personHaving been sailing for more than 40 years, Ahab gets lots of voyage experience. With his own unique authority, he becomes the king of the Pequod. The Pequod can be compared to a kingdom or a miniature society with Ahab as the leader. For him, the only law is his own will and the world exists simply for his own sake. His crew seems to be fools under his instructions and be the tools for him to realize his own final purpose. He is a proud, tyrannical, and overconfident figure.

  His pride sometimes overwhelms his rationality. For example, he tells Pip, the little Negro boy saved by the Pequod, that he will murder him rather than be swayed by Pip’s pleading that he abandons his quest for vengeance. Sometimes Ahab is brutally cutting to Starbuck, the first mate, and once even threatens to murder him. He absolutely cannot comprehend the patience of the long suffering blacksmith, asking him, “How cannot thou endure without being mad?”(Melville, 1964:384) Ahab’s pride is also shown in his caustic treatment of his intellectual inferiors. He is contemptuous of the stupid carpenter, and early in the novel, he roars at Stubbs, the second mate, “Down, dog, and kennel!”(Melville, 1964:118) The centre of his pride lies in the fact that he is not merely content to see more than other men, but wishes to exert his efforts to destroy the whale to prove that he is greater than the supernatural power or the God.

  His tyranny is depicted well in chapter 34“The Dinner Table of Captain’s Room”. He is just the symbol of authority and hierarchy. Everybody should obey him unconditionally. Starbuck, Stubbs, and Flask should go into and out of the dinner room orderly and receive Ahab’s food. During the dinner time, all kinds of unwritten rules should be obeyed. They cannot leave the room orderly before receiving Ahab’s commands. Over the table envelops a kind of mist of tyranny and restraint. Meanwhile, in Pequod, limited areas are divided for different ranks of the crew, the stern deck is the banned area for captain, and the stem deck is the free place for the crew. In view of Ahab, all the crew is his slaves and his tools. He can determine and dominate their fates. They work very hard, even sacrifice themselves for Ahab just for little salary. To the crew of Pequod, the Pequod may be the Noah’s Ark, but to Ahab, it is just the useful tool for him to realize his own vengeance, even to sacrifice all other people’s lives. He becomes a cold and bitter tyrant in relation to his crew. He becomes himself an agent of the divine evil that he hates.

  Through the whole story, overconfidence follows Ahab. After Ahab reveals to the crew that he is seeking revenge, Starbuck objects in terms that invoke this admonition: “To be enraged with a dumb thing… seems blasphemous.” To which Ahab frantically replies, “Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me” (Brodhead, 2007:126). In his point of view, the visible world is just pasteboard mask. He argues, “Hark yet again,—the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event—in the living act, the undoubted deed—there, some unknown but still reasoning thing put forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall! To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near me. Sometimes I think there’s naught beyond. But it’s enough. He tasks me; he heaps me.”(Moby Dick:167) An overconfident figure is doomed to be retained in his own wall, he could not walk randomly in the free kingdom. He even makes deal with the devil to strike the wall: “…the old man is hard beat after that white whale, and the devil there is trying to come round him, and get him to swap away his silver watch, or his soul, or some thing of that sort, and then hell surrenders Moby Dick.” (Melville, 1964:315) “When Ahab walks on the deck, gazing at the coin called doubloon, he sees in it demonic and narcissistic energies”(Brodhead, 2007:174). He meditates, “There’s something ever egotistical in mountain-tops and towers, and all other grand and lofty things; look here,—three peaks as proud as Lucifer. The firm tower, that is Ahab; the volcano, that is Ahab; the courageous, the undaunted, and victorious fowl, that, too, is Ahab; All are Ahab.”(Melville, 1967:447) He thinks that he is as equal as God. He can tantalize God, or even declare a war with God. If confidence is the soul of heroism, then overconfidence is the cradle of individualism.

  Ahab’s pride, tyranny and overconfidence are the qualification of him to realize his final purpose. And it also drives Ahab onto a one-way-ticket journey. There is no returning back for his determination.
AcknowledgementMy deepest gratitude goes first and foremost to lecturer Ma Huilian, my supervisor, for her constant encouragement and guidance. She has walked me through all the stages of this thesis. Without her consistent and illuminating instruction, this thesis would not have reached its present form.

  Second, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to other professors and teachers at the department of English, Professor Tian Yong, Professor Han Fuling, and Shan Manju, who have instructed and helped me a lot in the past three years.

  Last, my thanks would go to my beloved family for their loving considerations and great confidence in me all through these years.

  Above all, I also own my sincere gratitude to my friends, my roommates and my fellow classmates who offer me their helps and times in listening to me and helping me work out my problems during the difficult course of the thesis.

  And in the end, I am much appreciated these teachers who watch my thesis in busy time.

  Thank you! And thank you very much for what you have done for me! Thank you to you all!

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