Give a brief description of Ahab (the captain in Moby Dick) that expresses what sort of man he is.

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ahab, the captain of the Pequod, is an intimidating gray-haired man with two of his most distinguishing features being a peg-leg made of whale bone (needed after his last encounter with Moby Dick) and a huge white scar running down the length of his face.  Ahab is a man who inspires all sorts of myths and legends.  His delayed entrance into the novel helps these myths and legends to grow even bigger.  One myth surrounds his scar.  According to the other seamen, the scar most likely runs the length of his body.  These two physical features add to Ahab's intimidating posture.

“There was an infinity of firmest fortitude, a determinate, unsurrenderable wilfulness, in the fixed and fearless, forward dedication of that glance.”

Perhaps Ahab's most important emotional feature is his obsession with the white whale:  Moby Dick.  The reader is led to believe that Ahab is this way by nature in that he admits, “I’d strike the sun if it insulted me!"  His obsession with Moby Dick leads Ahab to seek revenge at all costs (and eventually causes his death).