The Daily Dick: Musings on the Greatest Novel Ever
"Starbuck: 'But shall this crazed old man be tamely suffered to drag a whole ship’s company down to doom with him?- Yes, it would make him the willful murderer of thirty men and more, if this ship come to any deadly harm; and come to deadly harm, my soul swears this ship will, if Ahab have his way. If, then, he were this instant- put aside, that crime would not be his.'"
Starbuck has tried to deter Ahab from continuing the voyage with words, but he has now entered Ahab's cabin while Ahab is sleeping. There are loaded muskets available to Starbuck and he begins to consider the possibility of using the weapon on Ahab. Starbuck, being a good Christian man, is attempting to justify the murder by claiming that if he kills Ahab, he will actually save the old man's soul for the inevitable death of the crew. This is the moment in the book that changes everything.