It All Starts with the Leg: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Prosthetic Technicity in Moby-Dick
This thesis aims to re-read Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick from the point of view of twenty-first-century literary theory. In this comprehensive work, the prosthetic leg of Captain Ahab serves as an important pivot from which one can efficaciously see the interlacement of various facets. Grounded upon the theory of technics, the concept of prosthesis reveals to us how nature is barely different from artifacts, and that technics originates not in modern time, but much earlier when humans come into being. The notion of prosthesis points out a fact—that whether it be our mind or body, it is always undergoing artificial processes of multiplication. Prosthesis is a significant notion which will shed light on our discussion of mind and body respectively, since it epitomizes the dynamo of life, one which keeps on transforming. Beyond a reading of technicity, Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory is useful in providing us with a skeleton to look into the peculiar psychic state illustrated by Captain Ahab. Several questions constellating around Ahab’s disability that is depicted in the novel should also be investigated. They include how and why others treat him unfairly due to the prosthetic leg he carries.
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