Moby Dick

what does ahab say about the carpenter when he finally takes his leave of him? what does this observation reveal about ahabs character?

and what is the carpenters final assessment of ahab? what does this summing up reveal about his view of the world?

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Chapter One Hundred and Eight: Ahab and the Carpenter:

Ahab approaches the carpenter at work to see about fixing his leg. Ahab laments that he is "proud as a Greek god," yet indebted to such a "blockhead" for a bone to stand on. The carpenter thinks about how strange Ahab appears and how Ahab looks on him with such scorn.


The relationship between Ahab and the carpenter is a fascinating one, for the two characters instantly have a mutual animosity that Melville never fully explains. In fact, the carpenter may be the only character in Moby Dick who stands on an equal footing with Ahab, able to criticize him and counter his complaints without having to humor the captain or behave diplomatically toward him, as Starbuck must do. The rationale for this relative equality between Ahab and the carpenter remains in necessity; Ahab must depend on the carpenter for his wooden leg, whereas with others Ahab finds them entirely unnecessary. Melville will return to the character of the carpenter in later chapters.