Ethan Brand and Moby-Dick

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While reading Ethan Brand by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, I have noticed that there are some interesting similarities and differences between the two major characters, Ethan Brand and Ahab, in these two novels. For one thing, Ethan Brand and Ahab are similar in that they are both obsessed with one goal and are isolated from others and the society. Ethan Brand begins as an upright man who cares about others and hopes that all sins are pardonable. Yet, in his quest for the Unpardonable Sin, Ethan Brand, driven by his eagerness, manipulates others into committing sin as well. For instance, he tricks the daughter of an old man with “cold and remorseless purpose” into his psychological experiment which “wasted, absorbed, and perhaps annihilated her soul”. What is more, after he returns from his journey, he becomes self-conceited, ignorant and looks down on all the townspeople, who had been his friends and came to welcome him. Ethan Brand’s heart, as a result of his unholy undertaking, has “withered, contracted, hardened and perished”. He cares only about the knowledge he seeks. He values intellect over compassion and cuts himself off from others. As a consequence, he is isolated from the society. At the end of his search, his alienation gnaws at him, and he returns to renew his bond with humanity by announcing the result of his quest. However, his listeners regard him as a crazy and frightful man—a man to stay away from. Similarly, in Moby-Dick, Captain Ahab is also obsessed with one goal—killing the white whale. He is an overwhelmingly intimidating character in the story, and can probably be considered as the craziest and most deranged of them all. For instance, Ahab is always trying to seek revenge on the white whale. His radical obsession with finding and killing the white whale, known as “Moby-Dick”, causes Ishmael and others of the crew

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