A monologue from the book by Herman Melville

NOTE: This monologue was first published in Moby Dick. Herman Melville. London: Richard Bentley, 1851. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.

AHAB: Oh, Starbuck! It is a mild, mild wind, and a mild looking sky. On such a day -- very much such a sweetness as this -- I struck my first whale -- a boy-harpooner of eighteen! Forty -- forty -- forty years ago! -- ago! Forty years of continual whaling! Forty years of privation, and peril, and storm-time! Forty years on the pitiless sea! For forty years has Ahab forsaken the peaceful land, for forty years to make war on the horrors of the deep! Aye and yes, Starbuck, out of those forty years I have not spent three ashore. When I think of this life I have led; the desolation of solitude it has been; the masoned, walled-town of a Captain's exclusiveness, which admits but small entrance to any sympathy from the green country without -- oh, weariness! Heaviness! Guinea-coast slavery of solitary command! -- When I think of all this; only half-suspected, not so keenly known to me before -- and how 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 has old Ahab been!

Home · Theatre Links · Monologues · One Act Plays · Bookstore · © 2006