Herman Melville Research Paper

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Raju Singh Mrs. McDaniel American Literature Herman Melville Progress is key to living life, but if one is advancing through life with the motivation of revenge, then, in actuality, he or she is truly regressing. Revenge is an extremely corruptive trait. It causes people to do uncharacteristic things that normally would not be done. The perception of right and wrong is blurred and one takes inadvertent actions that may cost friendships, possessions, and even lives. Revenge is often a major motivating factor in the characters that are in the works written during the Dark Romanticism period. One of the most celebrated and influential American authors in history, Herman Melville, was born on August 1, 1819; his reputation was not quite…show more content…
On September 28, 1891 just after midnight, Melville suffered a heart attack and died, leaving Billy Budd in manuscript (Rollyson xxiv). Billy Budd was published posthumously. Moby-Dick is considered to be one of, if not the, best novels in American history. Harper & Brothers first published it in 1851 in New York. In England, it was published in the same year under the title, The Whale (“Moby Dick”). Melville explores topics and themes that were scarcely spoken of and never even seen in a novel. In the novel, the Pequod, which is the ship, is named after a Native American tribe that was exterminated when the white settlers arrived. It is a symbol of death and doom and foreshadows event that occur later in the novel. Melville brings some very controversial themes to light in the novel. Revenge is one of the main themes of Dark Romanticism and Melville uses it to drive every action taken by Ahab. This is seen early on in the novel as Ahab explains to the crew why he has a peg leg and that he wants to enact his revenge on Moby Dick (Melville 160-161). “Moby Dick is, fundamentally, a revenge tragedy. It’s about one man’s maniacal obsession with vengeance. It’s about finding an object on which to pin all you anger and fear and rage, not only about your own suffering, but also about the suffering of all mankind” (“Moby
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