The Daily Dick: Musings on the Greatest Novel Ever
"For forty years I have fed upon dry salted fare- fit emblem of the dry nourishment of my soul!- when the poorest landsman has had fresh fruit to his daily hand, and broken the world’s fresh bread to my mouldy crusts- away, whole oceans away, from that young girl-wife I wedded past fifty, and sailed for Cape Horn the next day, leaving but one dent in my marriage pillow- wife? wife?- rather a widow with her husband alive? Aye, I widowed that poor girl when I married her, Starbuck; and then, the madness, the frenzy, the boiling blood and the smoking brow, with which, for a thousand lowerings old Ahab has furiously, foamingly chased his prey- more a demon than a man!- aye, aye! what a forty years’ fool- fool- old fool, has old Ahab been! Why this strife of the chase? why weary, and palsy the arm at the oar, and the iron, and the lance? how the richer or better is Ahab now?"
Musing: Here is Ahab letting us know so much. First - he is self-aware. He knows he has been crazed by the chase for Moby Dick. He knows it has been futile. He knows the risk has not been worth the reward, yet it has been done and will be finished. Starbuck is Ahab's confidant here, as are the readers. Who doesn't want to give Ahab a big old hug right about now?