The Sea-Wolf


Jack London

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Death Larsen Character Analysis

Death Larsen is the brother of the seal-hunting captain Wolf Larsen and is reportedly even more ruthless in his methods as a leader. He is captain of the Macedonia (likely a reference to the famous Macedonian general, Alexander the Great). Though Death Larsen never appears as a character in the book, he sends his crew to harass Wolf’s crew and claim the seal-hunting grounds for themselves. Wolf responds by sending out his own crew to capture Death’s hunters and hunting boats. Though Wolf is initially successful, Death eventually tracks down Wolf, offers Wolf’s crew better pay, and leaves Wolf marooned alone on the Ghost. Death Larsen shows how in a survival-of-the-fittest system, the most vicious competitor will usually win, and he represents the person Wolf might have become if he had never read books or studied philosophy.

Death Larsen Quotes in The Sea-Wolf

The The Sea-Wolf quotes below are all either spoken by Death Larsen or refer to Death Larsen. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Self-Reliance and Maturation Theme Icon
Chapter 10 Quotes

“No,” Wolf Larsen answered, with an indescribable air of sadness. “And he is all the happier for leaving life alone. He is too busy living it to think about it. My mistake was in ever opening the books.

Related Characters: Wolf Larsen (speaker), Death Larsen, Humphrey Van Weyden
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

“What of the Macedonia?”

“Not sighted,” I answered.

I could have sworn his face fell at the intelligence, but why he should be disappointed I could not conceive.

Related Characters: Wolf Larsen (speaker), Humphrey Van Weyden (speaker), Death Larsen
Page Number: 150
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 32 Quotes

“Hump,” he said slowly, “you can’t do it. You are not exactly afraid. You are impotent. Your conventional morality is stronger than you.”

Related Characters: Wolf Larsen (speaker), Humphrey Van Weyden , Maud Brewster, Death Larsen
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:
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Death Larsen Character Timeline in The Sea-Wolf

The timeline below shows where the character Death Larsen appears in The Sea-Wolf. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10
Self-Reliance and Maturation Theme Icon
Materialism vs. Idealism Theme Icon
Survival of the Fittest Theme Icon
Love, Duty, and Choice Theme Icon the English merchant service and rose through the ranks. He tells about his brother “Death” Larsen , who is even more brutal and barely reads or writes. Wolf Larsen imagines his... (full context)
Chapter 11
Self-Reliance and Maturation Theme Icon
...before continuing to the coast of Japan. Van Weyden asks Louis for more information about Death Larsen , and Louis tells him that Wolf Larsen and Death Larsen don’t get along. (full context)
Chapter 24
Self-Reliance and Maturation Theme Icon
Survival of the Fittest Theme Icon
...Wolf Larsen, however, believes the approaching ship is the Macedonia, the ship of his brother, Death Larsen —and he’s correct. (full context)
Chapter 25
Survival of the Fittest Theme Icon
The next day, Van Weyden informs Wolf Larsen that Death Larsen ’s Macedonia is no longer in sight; Wolf Larsen seems almost disappointed. Soon, however, the... (full context)
Survival of the Fittest Theme Icon
The Macedonia starts heading for the Ghost, and Death Larsen has apparently realized what is happening. The Ghost tries to speed away, but Wolf Larsen... (full context)
Chapter 26
Survival of the Fittest Theme Icon
...whiskey to his crew while Van Weyden treats the newly wounded. Wolf Larsen’s victory over Death Larsen seems to put him in a good mood. (full context)
Chapter 32
Self-Reliance and Maturation Theme Icon
Survival of the Fittest Theme Icon
Love, Duty, and Choice Theme Icon
Van Weyden asks where the rest of Wolf Larsen’s crew is. It turns out Death Larsen caught up with the Ghost, offered to pay the crew more money, then marooned Wolf... (full context)