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by Herman Melville
Captain Ahab Timeline and Summary
Captain Ahab appears on the deck of the Pequod once the voyage is already underway, and is grim and silent. Captain Ahab announces to the crew that he lost his leg in a skirmish with Moby Dick, the famous White Whale, and makes everyone swear to help him get revenge. Captain Ahab allows the crew of the Pequod to conduct normal whaling hunts on the voyage while he obsessively tries to chart Moby Dick’s likely whereabouts. It’s revealed that Ahab smuggled Fedallah and a group of men on board to staff his whaling boat. Ahab refuses to allow anything to distract him from his quest, not even other ships in need of assistance or problems with the barrels of valuable oil in the hold. Ahab forges a special harpoon in human blood in a demonic parody of baptism. Ahab establishes a special friendship with Pip, a young black man on board ship who was driven mad as a result of his cowardly leap into open sea during a whaling excursion. Ahab sights Moby Dick and pursues him for three days, getting his whaling boat destroyed each time. On the third day, lying injured in a whaling boat, Ahab watches as Moby Dick destroys the Pequod. Ahab throws his harpoon at Moby Dick one last time, catches his own neck in the rope, and drowns/strangles.