ASABIYYAH OF RESSENTIMENT AND CAPTAIN AHAB: DOWNFALL OF THE AMERICAN HERO IN HERMAN MELVILLE’S MOBY-DICK


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Authors

  • Yonca DENIZARSLANI Assistant Prof. Dr.

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8344745%20

Abstract

This study aims to focus on the downfall of the American hero in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, or the White Whale with reference to the ideological correspondence between Captain Ahab’s asabiyyah of ressentiment and the 19th century expansionist rhetoric of the American Manifest Destiny. According to the foundational tenets of Calvinism, such as predestination and unconditional election, 17th century Calvinist Puritan pioneers of the colonial America envisioned a sanctified future for their existence in the New World. Hence, preceding self-autonomous body politic of the early 17th century Calvinist colonies before the common law era and its consequent Anglicization process, was revived with the Revolutionary spirit of the United States. In this respect, post-Revolutionary American rhetoric of the Manifest Destiny aligned the sanctified Reform identity of Calvinism with the belief in the futurity of American exceptionalism. While the discursive practices of Manifest Destiny comforted the consequent social and ideological disintegrations following the advancement of expansionism and industrialization in the Antebellum America, it legitimized the militarism of the federal power, which came to identify the North as a politically and culturally triumphant party of the nation after the Civil War. In connection with this historical background, Captain Ahab’s asabiyyah of ressentiment against the overwhelming powers of nature will be analyzed from the viewpoint of Ibn Khaldun’s theory of asabiyyah, by which he formulated the transformation of societies from the initial forms of social solidarity to empires; and the quests of Friedrich Nietzsche and Max Scheler on the roots of ressentiment, which they claimed to be the essence of a diseased sense of selfhood obsessed with an infinity-oriented ascendency. Melville’s theme of human versus nature, thus, will be analyzed with an equally undercurrent theme of American expansionism, which associates Captain Ahab’s will to dominate with that of 19th century rhetoric of Manifest Destiny.

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Published

2023-09-14

How to Cite

DENIZARSLANI, Y. (2023). ASABIYYAH OF RESSENTIMENT AND CAPTAIN AHAB: DOWNFALL OF THE AMERICAN HERO IN HERMAN MELVILLE’S MOBY-DICK. NEW ERA INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERDISCIPLINARY SOCIAL RESEARCHES, 8(20), 13–33. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8344745

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