Course Hero. "Moby-Dick Study Guide." Course Hero. 13 Oct. 2016. Web. 12 May 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Moby-Dick/>.
Course Hero. (2016, October 13). Moby-Dick Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 12, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Moby-Dick/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "Moby-Dick Study Guide." October 13, 2016. Accessed May 12, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Moby-Dick/.
Course Hero, "Moby-Dick Study Guide," October 13, 2016, accessed May 12, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Moby-Dick/.
Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapters 115–117 of Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick.
Weeks after Captain Ahab's new harpoon is completed, the Pequod encounters another whaling ship, the Bachelor, which is loaded down with whale oil and spermaceti after a successful voyage. The crew of the Bachelor is celebrating joyously. Ahab asks, as usual, "Hast seen the White Whale?" They reply negatively, and Ahab gives the order to continue on without stopping. The next day in Chapter 116, a group of whales is sighted, and four of them are killed, including one by Ahab. The four whales die far apart in Chapter 117, and only three are able to be gathered to the ship by sundown, so Ahab's boat stays with the remaining whale overnight to keep an eye on it. During this watch, Fedallah tells Ahab of a prophetic dream he's had about Ahab's death—one he's had before. Ahab thinks the prophecy means he will die by hanging, so he's safe while at sea.
There are three parts to Fedallah's prophecy:
Captain Ahab misunderstands all three of these, thinking that it is unlikely that hearses are to be seen while at sea, that Fedallah will be his pilot no matter what, and that the only way to die by hemp (which is what ropes are often made of) is on the gallows. Later, it becomes clear how this three-part prophecy is fulfilled. For now, it serves to make Ahab even more confident.