Moby-Dick

Moby-Dick

Starbuck Character Analysis

Ahab’s first mate, Starbuck is loyal, practical, ethical, and cautious, perhaps overly so. He does not want Ahab to attack Moby Dick, and recognized both the physical and moral danger of Ahab’s obsession, but he also lacks the passion and conviction to stand up to Ahab. Starbuck notably passes up a chance to kill Ahab, deciding that to do so would be wrong, even if it were to save the rest of the crew.
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Starbuck Character Timeline in Moby-Dick

The timeline below shows where the character Starbuck appears in Moby-Dick. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 21: Going Aboard
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...Pequod. They say they will, and they go up above-decks with the rigger, hearing that Starbuck, the ship’s chief mate, is there, and that Ahab is still secluded in his cabin... (full context)
Chapter 22: Merry Christmas
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...while the Pequod heads out into the open Atlantic. Ishmael hears tell of, and sees, Starbuck, the first mate, Stubb, the second, and Flask, the third, and he bustles along with... (full context)
Chapter 26: Knights and Squires
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Ishmael takes a moment to introduce the leadership of the Pequod. Starbuck, the first mate, is a Nantucketer and a Quaker, and Ishmael describes him as a... (full context)
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Ishmael goes on to qualify the exact nature of Starbuck’s bravery and personal courage, which, he indicates, the later narrative will reveal. Starbuck, he says,... (full context)
Chapter 27: Knights and Squires
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Ishmael names Starbuck, Stubb, and Flask the three “knights” of the Pequod, under the command of Ahab, and... (full context)
Chapter 34: The Cabin-Table
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...at an ivory (whalebone) table over which Ahab presides, like the head of a family. Starbuck gets the largest portion of the three mates, then Stubb, then Flask, and Flask must... (full context)
Chapter 36: The Quarter-Deck
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...days around the quarterdeck, and appearing as though he has something on his mind, tells Starbuck one day to rouse the enter crew aft (or behind the quarterdeck), as Ahab would... (full context)
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Starbuck alone protests to Ahab, saying that he and others shipped not for “vengeance” on one... (full context)
Chapter 37: Sunset
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...internal monologue, and has him sitting alone in his cabin, reciting to himself that, although Starbuck appears worried about the Pequod’s new mission, Ahab will exact revenge against Moby Dick, and... (full context)
Chapter 38: Dusk
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Starbuck has his own internal monologue, in which he says to himself that Ahab is a... (full context)
Chapter 41: Moby Dick
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...in hindsight, there was no mate or harpooneer on the vessel strong enough to stop Ahab—Starbuck was too morally week, Stubb too enthusiastic for the fight, and Flask too “mediocre.” But... (full context)
Chapter 48: The First Lowering
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...which Ahab will ride in search of the sperm whales. The other three boats—led by Starbuck, Stubb, and Flask—are also lowered into the water. Stubb exhorts his men to row, using... (full context)
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...whales as Stubb calmly smokes his pipe in the second boat. Ishmael is seated on Starbuck’s boat, near Queequeg, and after rowing out in pursuit of three whales for a long... (full context)
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...them, to see if they have survived pursuit of the whale. The Pequod nearly hits Starbuck’s boat as it comes around, and the crew of the whale-boat jumps out of the... (full context)
Chapter 81: The Pequod Meets the Virgin
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Stubb, Flask, and Starbuck, in command of the three whaleboats, become angry when they realize that the Virgin is... (full context)
Chapter 99: The Doubloon
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...signs—marks of the devil and of Ahab himself—Ahab sees himself in all things around him. Starbuck sees the doubloon as a sign of cosmic goodness and of God’s mercy; Stubb reads... (full context)
Chapter 109: Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin
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Starbuck discovers, while rinsing the decks of the Pequod, that some of the oil casks in... (full context)
Chapter 114: The Gilder
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...local whaling boats go after smaller prey. Ishmael notes that all on the ship, including Starbuck, Stubb, and even Ahab himself, appear touched by the “golden” light and glow of the... (full context)
Chapter 118: The Quadrant
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...any instrument or “toy.” Ahab smashes the quadrant against the deck of the ship, and Starbuck, observing this from the deck, wonders if Ahab won’t “burn himself to ashes” in his... (full context)
Chapter 119: The Candles
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...to hunt the white whale with him, and that no man can turn back now. Starbuck believes that Ahab and the vessel are “ill-omened,” and that they should sail out of... (full context)
Chapter 120: The Deck Towards the End of the First Night Watch
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Starbuck asks, in the night, if the anchors shouldn’t be further fixed, in order to keep... (full context)
Chapter 123: The Musket
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Starbuck and Stubb manage to retie and hoist some of the sails, and the ship begins... (full context)
Chapter 132: The Symphony
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Ahab, high on his watch, turns to Starbuck after many hours, and begins a long harangue that appears, at first, to indicate that... (full context)
Chapter 133: The Chase. – First Day
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...so, he will give ten times that money to all the crew. Ahab also sees Starbuck worrying about the whale, and Stubb laughing about Moby Dick, and condemns both, saying they... (full context)
Chapter 134: The Chase. – Second Day
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...call is raised aboard the decks—many crew-members at once—that Moby Dick is straight ahead, and Starbuck is once again left in command of the Pequod, as Ahab, Stubb, and Flask lower... (full context)
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...friend and comrade in battle, and wonders if this doesn’t spell doom for his mission. Starbuck, once Ahab is back on board, pleads with his captain to abandon the chase, saying... (full context)
Chapter 135: The Chase. – Third Day
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...few minutes, Ahab himself finds the whale, and the boats are lowered once again, with Starbuck manning the Pequod for the third time. Ahab says goodbye to the ship and shakes... (full context)
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...hard at work preparing the whale-boats once more for battle—will go down with the ship. Starbuck, Flask, and Stubb each see Moby Dick approaching to ram them—and Starbuck prays for forgiveness... (full context)