Next_muffin could possibly be one of the world's greatest new playwrights, following in the footsteps of the legendary Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. By following in the famed playwright's footsteps, he has managed to produce a work that will likely be revered as a complex and thorough study of humanity and the relationship between sanity and obsession.
Goethe, as well as Johann Herder and Friedrich Schiller, lead the movement called Sturm und Drang, which translates to "Storm and Stress." A reaction to neoclassicism of the previous century, they followed Shakespeare's limitless style and wrote with fancy language and ultimately favored emotions and freedom over logic and reason (Quinn). Next_muffin follows suit by writing his own play in the style of the movement: Ahab, Melville's crazed character, disregards logic for his obsession with catching Moby Dick. Next_muffin effectively demonstrates this craziness through his language, such as in the following passage:
This necessary deed, the star of my heart's sky,
They take it for a joke! A whim!
Avast, they'll see with wakened eyes
The fear instilled by Moby Dick!
I look out the window, enveloped by blue,
And see myself staring into the eyes of the beast,
Separated solely by a piece of hardened sand.
Were I to break through, to connect with the brute,
Perhaps my crew will see the danger that I fear.
As well as ornate language, Goethe frequently makes use of nature-related imagery, such as in Faust's line, "If I could only go along the mountain tops / under your friendly light, / ride round the mountain caverns with the spirits, / float over the meadows in your glimmering, / purged of the smoke of knowledge, / and bathe myself back to health in your dew!" (Faust 8). Next_muffin takes this detail to a further degree, using frequent nature metaphors to illustrate his points:
But shall a slave 'gainst master rebel?
Shall leaves from top a tree not fall?
Shall a man with a dream leave his family behind
When he travels the seas like a curse?
Despite his success in reviving Goethe's movement, his poetry does not meet Goethe's standards: while Goethe's writing flowed with a beauty that could only come from a genius, next_muffin's well-done efforts at emulating his writing style produce a dry and somewhat unnecessary method of darting around ideas one can tell he would much rather simply spell out. Despite this, it should be noted that, as next_muffin is most well-known for his magical realism and modernist writings, his attempts are better than what might be expected of such a change in style.
Next_muffin not only imitates Goethe's style, but the themes he presents, as well. Goethe's masterpiece, Faust, presents a plethora of opposites, such as Faust's piety and Mephistopheles's evil or Martha's flirtatious nature and Gretchen's reluctance to betray what is expected of her in terms of marriage and relationships. Next_muffin's repeats of the phrase "clouding the eyes" draws one's attention to comparing Ahab to his crew: while Ahab is fixated upon catching Moby Dick, his crew merely goes with the flow and thinks Ahab's obsession is insane. Likewise, one should note the opposing natures of feisty Mephistopheles and the laid back Moby Dick, as well as the differences between Ahab's and Mephistopheles's respective obsessions.
One interesting twist next_muffin offers is an insight into the nature of Mephistopheles, when one expected an already-known characterization of Ahab. In Faust, he is presented merely as the reincarnation of the Devil, with a myriad of allusions proving it. However, next_muffin's twist ending, in which Mephistopheles abandons Ahab for Javert, one can see that Mephistopheles has an obsession of his own: corrupting the minds of others. Coupled with his almost antisocial attitude towards entertainment, Mephistopheles appears to, at the same time, be one's most amusing friend, as well as one's eventual demise.
Although next_muffin often favors prose over plays, one could consider Ahab to be one of his greatest works. A dramatic blend of human nature, obsession, and revenge, this play is certain to become a must in any scholar's library. One can only hope that, in the future, next_muffin chooses to favor his readers with more works of excellence.