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by Herman Melville

Moby-Dick Chapter 109: Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin Summary

  • In the morning, the men pump out the small amount of water that accumulates in the ship each day, and they find that that oil is coming up with it – some of the barrels are leaking badly.
  • Starbuck goes to Ahab’s cabin to report the leaking oil and to recommend that the ship stop so they can bring the oil casks on deck and repair them.
  • Ahab refuses; he’s more interested in pursuing Moby Dick than anything else.
  • Starbuck implores Ahab to think of the owners of the ship, but Ahab insists that possession is the only real law, and as commander he can do whatever he wants.
  • He threatens Starbuck with a loaded musket and orders him back on deck.
  • Starbuck returns to the deck, but warns Ahab to beware of himself.
  • Ahab ponders the truth of this warning, and then suddenly decides to follow Starbuck’s advice, stop the ship, and fix the casks.

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