Moby Dick

the stage directions at the beginning of chapter 129

what do these tell you about the relationship between ahab and pip

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Just as the previous chapter established Ahab's inability to show any concern for others that might hinder his quest for Moby Dick, in this chapter Melville gives additional evidence of the hardened and emotionless Ahab through his interaction with Pip, the character to whom Ahab had shown the most pity. Ahab at first attempts to handle Pip gently in order to spare him from what seems to be an inevitable tragedy, yet still resolves to murder the pitiable boy if it is necessary. Perhaps the most interesting facet of Ahab's character in this chapter is his self-awareness of his own insanity. Ahab realizes that he is a madman, but cannot change his behavior. This is yet another example of the novel's recurring theme of predestined fate.