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Moby Dick, By Ralph Melville

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Throughout the overwhelmingly large novel Moby Dick, an intense usage of rhetoric can be found; however, only in a few instances do certain characters seem to be built on such language that their speeches compel people to act upon their word. If any character in particular stands out in this aspect, Ahab would prevail. Ahab’s artful use of rhetoric throughout Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, particularly when speaking to a crowd, causes him to attain what he desires as well as create poetic instances that need particular analyzing to comprehend. In this particular passage found in “Chapter 36. The Quarter-Deck,” Captain Ahab has just finished motivating his crew to join his hunt for Moby Dick and quelling those who spoke out against him. Though a generally short two paragraphs, Ahab packs each and every word with meaning, whether it be further the dark tone, creating intricate symbolism, or alluding to otherwise unimportant subjects; however, such instances only make Ahab a more compelling character. Throughout Ahab’s speech directly following his call to fight Moby Dick, a carefully placed and wonderfully chosen amount of rhetoric can be found. In context, Ahab seems to be making common conversation with his crew, calling them to “Drink and pass” in a somewhat cordial way (Melville 140). Ahab uses such common diction as to appeal to them as a companion, calling them to celebrate their mission to find and murder Moby Dick. Next, he uses imagery, paralleling the passing around
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