Man In Sorrow In Herman Melville's Moby Dick And The Raven By Edgar Allan Poe

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If a man is feeling depressed or in sorrow, he will commonly look past it and move on but when this feeling consumes him he will agonize in pain. Herman Melville’s, Moby Dick and The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe are both frightening, Gothic anecdotes that well represent writing in the mid 1800s Dark Romantic times. Having said that these stories have some similarities people do not recognize.

In Melville’s Moby Dick Captain Ahab is engulfed in killing what he believes to be the root of all evil “a white-headed whale” known to be Moby Dick. Ahab thinks of Moby Dick presumably has feelings and is doing all this to destroy him, his crew, and his legacy. Ahab is obsessed with this creature so much, so he would never consider counting his losses, no he would rather risk his life to watch this whale die. “Moby Dick that brought me to this dead stump I stand on now.”(Ahab 465). This Quote from Ahab would be a perfect example to why he will not let go of this adventure and proceeds to go insane all while his crew watches in anguish. “I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up.” (Ahab 465). Ahab sees this whale as his foe and would scour the oceans to find Moby Dick even tho he fears he will never lay eyes on the beast again. So, Ahab is left defeated; suffering every minute that passes. Sailing the sea’s for the day, he finally gets his revenge.

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Like Moby Dick, The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe is written in the perspective of a nameless character that hears a knocking at his door (Poe 436). He eventually opens his chamber door to his surprise no one’s there. The poem is foreshadowing a lost Lenore as that’s who the character believes is knocking at his door. The character then hears a tapping at his window. ‘“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice; let me see”’(Poe 438). The character finds a raven on the bust above his window and this gives the narrator a sense of comfort but is soon met with the raven’s only word “Nevermore” (Poe 439). The Narrator does not care at first as he realizes it is simply repeating the only word it knows. So, the character is left alone and nothing to do but question this raven but, the questions that he asks have a deeper meaning and slowly turn the character insane as he starts to scream at the bird even tho, he knows that the question will always be met with “Nevermore” (Poe 439). The narrator then begins to call the raven ‘“Prophet!”’ and ‘“thing of evil!- prophet still, if bird or devil!”’ The character stops asking questions, but the bird stays and continues to watch him as if it is insulting him, and his lost Lenore.

Ultimately, both stories end in a bitter, heartbroken way with Ahab conclusively losing his crew, boat, sanity and not to mention Moby Dick and the narrator in The Raven succumbing to the fact that he can not withdraw from his agony and has to face his losses. Both Characters let their feeling of depression and suffering consume them instead of looking past it and finding the positives and that is why these stories are great examples of writing in such a gothic movement; even tho they do not have much in common, they are more alike than someone would expect. 


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