Captains Ahab & Willard

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“I wanted a mission, and for my sins they gave me one.”

"I turn my body from the sun."

How do Captains Willard and Ahab differ? How are they the same? Both are hunters, both on the trail of their prey, and both will pay any price to achieve their ends. Seeing this dangerous quality and trying to protect their crews, the first-mate of the Pequod and the skipper of the patrol boat try to kill their respective captains. In both cases, these good men had the right idea. 

Story and setting may differ, but the primary motivation for both Ahab and Willard is the same; both are on do-or-die missions to eliminate, with extreme prejudice, the source of darkness from their own uncharted realms. Willard doesn’t venture into the heart of darkness to kill a man, but to eradicate his own cancerous demons. Ahab isn’t angry at a fish, he’s gouging something out of himself with a harpoon welded together “like glue from the melted bones of murderers”. What these men are trying to remove from their systems is the same thing you’re trying to remove from yours.

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“There are many moments for ruthless action — what is often called ruthless — what may in many circumstances be only clarity, seeing clearly what there is to be done and doing it, directly, quickly, awake, looking at it.”

“Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents' beds, unerringly I rush! Naught's an obstacle, naught's an angle to the iron way!”

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