The Daily Dick: Musings on the Greatest Novel Ever
"So Ahab’s proceedings in this matter were not unusual; the only strange thing about them seemed to be, that Starbuck, almost the one only man who had ever ventured to oppose him with anything in the slightest degree approaching to decision- one of those too, whose faithfulness on the look-out he had seemed to doubt somewhat; it was strange, that this was the very man he should select for his watchman; freely giving his whole life into such an otherwise distrusted person’s hands."
Musing: Ahab has decided to take the watch for the white whale himself. With his missing leg, getting Ahab into the rigging is not an easy task. Ahab must count on one man to hold his rope tightly otherwise he will fall into the sea and likely perish. Of all those men on board, Ahab selects Starbuck to hold the rope. Starbuck has had many opportunities to stop Ahab throughout the book, but this action seems to be the one with the least risk. One slip of the rope, and Ahab heads into the deep. Ahab must know this, and yet he freely puts his life into Starbuck's hands. Perhaps Ahab sees honesty in Starbuck's opposition of him? Most of the people who end up hurting us are the ones we never suspect. Starbuck has been honest in his questioning of Ahab. Surely there is a lesson here.