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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.