What were Ahab’s last words?

Answered by Willie Powers

Ahab’s last words, spoken in Chapter 135 of Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick, are a poignant reflection of his obsession and ultimate surrender to the elusive and vengeful white whale. In this climactic moment, the Pequod has been destroyed, and Ahab finds himself tied to Moby Dick, the object of his relentless pursuit.

The phrase “Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool!” carries a sense of finality and destruction. It is a symbolic gesture of Ahab renouncing death and embracing his own demise. By sinking all coffins and hearses, he wishes to erase any possibility of burial or mourning, emphasizing his defiance and refusal to accept defeat even in the face of death.

Ahab’s next words, “And since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces,” further illustrate his resignation and his desire to bring about his own destruction. He acknowledges that neither death nor victory over Moby Dick can belong to him, but he still yearns to tear himself apart in the process of pursuing the whale. This demonstrates the extent to which Ahab’s obsession has consumed him, as he willingly sacrifices himself for the sake of his revenge.

The phrase “while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale!” reveals Ahab’s unwavering determination and the twisted bond he feels with Moby Dick. Despite being physically bound to the whale, Ahab’s obsession remains unyielding. He acknowledges the damning nature of this connection, recognizing that his pursuit of vengeance has led him to this fateful moment.

Ahab declares, “Thus, I give up the spear!” This proclamation marks his ultimate surrender. The spear, symbolizing his weapon and means of striking back at Moby Dick, represents his pursuit of revenge. By giving it up, Ahab relinquishes his last shred of hope for retribution and accepts his inevitable fate. It is a moment of profound resignation and a realization of the futility of his quest.

Ahab’s last words encapsulate the tragic and complex nature of his character. They reflect his all-consuming obsession, his defiance in the face of death, and his ultimate surrender to the destructive forces he has set in motion. It is a powerful and haunting conclusion to Ahab’s relentless pursuit of the white whale, leaving readers with a sense of the profound consequences of unchecked obsession and the destructive power of vengeance.