Study Guide

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

By Herman Melville

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Chapter 109: Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin

  • 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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