Starbuck MobyThe Starbuck Moby
so many irons hiding inside him too!
Symbols of Starbuck in Moby-Dick
Starbuck, the Pequod's first officer, is one of the main figures in Melville's'Moby-Dick'. He is a sensible and faithful man who contrasts starkly with the possessed Captain Ahab. The lecture deals with the way Starbuck symbolises the logical part of the mind. The Pequod's first officer, Starbuck, acts as the sound of common sense on board the vessel.
Starbuck is sensible, reflective and has a good regard for the danger of whale watching and the danger of cetaceans. It throws him as an almost pole counterpart to Captain Ahab, who seldom shows much sense and only wants to take vengeance on the white whale that struck him so many years ago.
Starbuck and Ahab are often on opposite sides of the argument on their journeys because of their very different people. When Ahab cries out for his wish for retribution in section 36, for example, Starbuck countered with "Revenge against a stupid brute!.....madness! Seems to be a blaspheme with a stupid thing, Captain Ahab.
Ahab' s desire for vengeance finds Starbuck both mad and against the order of the outdoors. According to Starbuck, God did not make beasts to be able to do the thought and malice attributed to Ahab Moby Dick. Toward the end of Moby-Dick, as the pequod gets ever nearer the white whale, the relation between Ahab and Starbuck becomes quite tension.
Proving that he will not be sensible, Ahab has made it clear to Starbuck, if not everyone else, that Ahab's insanity is likely to kill many people. Starbuck contemplates murdering Ahab to rescue everyone else in 123: "One touching, and Starbuck could live to embrace his woman and kid again.
But if I don't awaken you to your deaths, old man who can tell you what unclear depths Starbucks Boys could drop this whole daily working weekend with the whole team! It may be ironical that Starbuck's fundamental propriety does not allow him to assassinate Captain Ahab, who may resume his quest, which will eventually assassinate everyone on this ship except Ishmael.
Starbuck is trying as hard to see his people again as he can restrain his temptations in a way Ahab does not. Because of their different personality and layers of self-control, Ahab and Starbuck symbolise different layers of the mind or souls. If we say they act as icons, it means that although Ahab and Starbuck are both real protagonists of the novel, they also stand for other notions - in this case parts of the mind.
Starbuck stands for the rational side of man and Ahab for the emotive side of man.