Transcript #8: Moby Dick
19th century whale-hunters from Herman Melville's novel
Moby Dick, Moby-Dick, Bílá velryba, Mobis Dikas, Mobijs Diks, ਮੋਬੀ ਡਿੱਕ, Моби Дик, 《 白鯨記 》（, 《無比敵》（, 『 白鯨 』（はくげい、英
Most people who speak English know the line "Call me Ishmael". Based on the 1851 book Moby-Dick or, The Whale by Herman Melville, this classic 1956 film was directed by John Huston. It stars Gregory Peck (as Captain Ahab), Richard Baseheart (as Ishmael), Leo Genn (as Starbuck), Orson Welles (as Father Mapple), and James Robertson Justice (as Captain Boomer).
Levels: Advanced to Mastery (C1 to C2)
Ray Bradbury wrote the screenplay in poetic English, which includes technical vocabulary from the age of sail. Some words are specific to whaling-ships. The dialogue is often archaic because the Quakers, a religious sect that was very strong in New Bedford, still in 1851 used the language of the King James Bible of 1611, saying “ye”, “thee” and “thou”; “thy” and “thine”; “art” and “dost”, “hast” and “dids’t”. For example the New Bedford crewmen, including Ahab, say “What dost thee want?” instead of the modern “What do you want?”
Welcome to the transcript!
SCENE - A YOUNG MAN IS WALKING THROUGH HILLS IN AUTUMN, CARRYING A BAG. HE WILL BE OUR NARRATOR.
YOUNG MAN. Call me ... Ishmael.
SCENE - HE WALKS ON PAST TREES AND A WATERFALL, AND BESIDE A SMALL MOUNTAIN RIVER
ISHMAEL. Some years ago, having little or no money, I thought I would sail about and see the oceans of the world. Whenever I get grim and spleenful, whenever I feel like knocking people’s hats off in the street, whenever it’s a damp, drizzly November in my soul, I know that it’s high time to get to sea again.
Choose any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down to water. There’s a magic in water that draws all men away from the land, leads them over the hills, down creeks and streams and rivers to the sea.
The sea, where each man as in a mirror finds ... himself.
SCENE - A DARK AND RAINY NIGHT IN A SMALL 19TH CENTURY SEAPORT
ISHMAEL. And so it was I duly arrived at the town of New Bedford, on a stormy Saturday, late in the year 1841.
SCENE - AN INN SIGN IN THE DARK AND RAIN - “SPOUTER INN : Peter Coffin”. ISHMAEL GOES IN AND WALKS UP TO THE BAR. HE SEES A PAINTING OF AN ENORMOUS WHALE DESTROYING A SHIP. THERE ARE WHALE’S TEETH ALONG THE BAR. TWO MEN DRESSED AS SAILORS WATCH HIM. THE LANDLORD COMES OVER TO SERVE HIM.
LANDLORD. Rum it is. To what mark? To this a penny, to that another penny, and so on to the top of the glass, the “Cape Horn” measure which you may drink down for a full shilling.
ISHMAEL. A penny mug ... nay, the full shilling.
LANDLORD. You’ll be wanting a room tonight. You ain’t no objections to sharing a harpooneer’s bed with him, have you? You going whaling?
ISHMAEL. That is my intention.
LANDLORD. You’ll need permission. You weren’t born and bred in New Bedford, were you.
ISHMAEL. I’m a stranger here.
LANDLORD. Then you’ll have to have permission.
STUBB. Aye, from us, the men of New Bedford. The sea is ours, other seamen only have a right of way through it, and the whale is ours, ours alone. No-one else may hunt it down and kill it unless we say so. Do you dispute that?
ISHMAEL. I do not.
STUBB. Good. Then you have our permission to sail our sea. Drink to this boy, eh, mates!
ISHMAEL (looking at the painting). Can whales do that?
STUBB. Why, bless me, whales can do anything! A whale can jump up like an earthquake and come down on you like a mountain that’s somehow put to sea. A whale can stave in the ribs of the biggest ships, swallow whole crews, pick its teeth with the oars. Mind, lad, if God ever wanted to be a fish he’d be a whale, believe that, he’d be a whale.
SCENE - THERE IS A NOISE OF FOOTSTEPS. OUTSIDE IN THE STREET A MAN WALKS PAST, WEARING BLACK CLOTHES. ONE OF HIS LEGS IS FALSE AND MADE OF WHITE IVORY FROM A WHALE. ALL THE DRINKERS LISTEN.
SAILOR #2. Ahab.
ISHMAEL. Who’s Ahab?
STUBB. Captain Ahab to you.
ISHMAEL. Who’s Captain Ahab?
STUBB. Aye ... Ahab’s Ahab. Music! Music!!
SAILORS (SINGING). In Amsterdam there lived a maid,
and she was mistress of her trade,
I’ll go no more a roving with you fair maid
A roving, a roving, since roving's been my ruin,
I’ll go no more a roving with you, fair maid.
Her cheeks were red, her eyes were brown,
Mark well what I do say,
Her cheeks were red, her eyes were brown,
Her curly hair was hanging down,
I’ll go no more a roving with you, fair maid.
A roving, a roving, since roving's been my ru-i-n,
I’ll go no more a roving with you, fair maid.
ISHMAEL. Which is the harpooneer I’m to sleep with tonight?
LANDLORD. Oh, he ain’t among them. He’s what you might call a dark-complexioned chap. He’ll be along, as soon as he finishes selling his head.
ISHMAEL. His what?
LANDLORD. Selling his head. He may have some difficulty getting rid of it. New Bedford’s over-stocked.
ISHMAEL. With what?
LANDLORD. Heads, of course!
STUBB. Come on, lad! [THEY ALL DANCE]
SCENE - ISHMAEL IS IN BED AT THE INN, READING A BOOK ABOUT WHALING. HE CLOSES THE BOOK, TURNS OUT THE LIGHT AND LIES DOWN TO SLEEP. A TALL, SAVAGE-LOOKING MAN (QUEEQUEG) COMES INTO THE ROOM. HE HOLDS A WHALING HARPOON IN ONE HAND, AND A CANDLE AND A SMALL ROUND OBJECT IN THE OTHER. ISHMAEL TAKES ONE LOOK AND HIDES UNDER THE BLANKET. THE ROUND OBJECT IS A SHRUNKEN HEAD. THE STRANGE MAN TAKES OFF HIS CLOTHES, LIGHTS A TOBACCO PIPE WHICH IS ALSO AN AXE, BLOWS OUT THE CANDLE AND GETS INTO BED, WHERE HE FINDS ISHMAEL.
QUEEQUEG. Who the devil you? You no speak, I kill you!
ISHMAEL. Landlord! Peter Coffin! Save me!
LANDLORD. Now, now, now, now! What is all this about?
ISHMAEL. Why didn’t you tell me I was sleeping with a ... with a cannibal?
LANDLORD. Why, I thought you know’d. Didn’t I tell you he was around the town, selling heads?
ISHMAEL. Landlord, tell him to stash that tomahawk there, or pipe, or whatever you call it.
LANDLORD. Well, pleasant dreams.
ISHMAEL. Oh, well, better a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.
SCENE - THE TOWN NEXT MORNING. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO CHURCH.
ISHMAEL. In this same New Bedford, there stands a whaleman’s chapel, and few are the fishermen shortly bound for the Indian Ocean or Pacific who fail to visit there.
SCENE - INSIDE THE CHAPEL. THE CONGREGATION SING A HYMN AND WE LOOK AT THE MONUMENTS TO MANY MEN DROWNED AT SEA OR KILLED BY WHALES ALL OVER THE WORLD.
A POWERFUL-LOOKING PRIEST COMES IN, DRESSED LIKE A SHIP’S CAPTAIN. HE CLIMBS A ROPE LADDER TO THE TOP OF A PULPIT WHICH LOOKS LIKE A SHIP, AND PULLS UP THE LADDER AFTER HIM. THIS IS FATHER MAPPLE.
MAPPLE. And God prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. Shipmates, the sin of Jonah was in his disobedience of the command of God. He found it a hard command, and it was, for all the things that God would have us do are hard. If we would obey God, we must disobey ourselves.
But Jonah still further flouts at God by seeking to flee from him. Jonah thinks that a ship made by men will carry him into countries where God does not reign. He prowls among the shipping like a vile burglar, hastening to cross the seas, and as he comes aboard the sailors mark him.
The ship puts out, but soon the sea rebels. It will not bear the wicked burden. A dreadful storm comes up. The ship is like to break. The bo’s’n calls all hands to lighten her. Boxes, bales and jars are clattering overboard, the wind is shrieking, the men are yelling. “I fear the Lord!” cries Jonah, “the God of Heaven who has made the sea and the dry land!”
Again, the sailors mark him. And wretched Jonah cries out to them to cast him overboard, for he knew that for his sake this great tempest was upon them.
Now behold Jonah, taken up as an anchor and dropped into the sea, into the dreadful jaws awaiting him. And the great whale shoots to all his ivory teeth, like so many white bolts, upon his prison.
And Jonah cries unto the Lord, out of the fish’s belly. But observe his prayer, shipmates. He doesn’t weep and wail, he feels his punishment is just. He leaves deliverance to God. And even out of the belly of Hell, grounded upon the ocean’s utmost bones, God heard him when he cried. And God spake unto the whale, and from the shuddering cold and blackness of the deep, the whale breached into the sun and vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
And Jonah, bruised and beaten, his ears like two seashells still multitudinously murmuring of the ocean ... Jonah did the Almighty’s bidding, and what was that, shipmates? To preach the truth in the face of falsehood! [THE CAMERA FOCUSES ON THE FACE OF MR STARBUCK, SITTING IN THE CONGREGATION]
Now, shipmates, woe to him who seeks to pour oil on the troubled water when God has brewed them into a gale. Yeah, woe to him who, as the pilot Paul has it, while preaching to others is himself a castaway! But delight is to him who against the proud gods and commodores of this Earth, stands forth his own inexorable self, who destroys all sin, though we pluck it out from under the robes of senators, and judges. And eternal delight shall be his who, coming to lay him down, can say “Oh father, mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven to be thine, more than to be this world’s or mine own, yet this is nothing. I leave eternity to thee, for what is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?
SCENE - THE BEDROOM AT THE SPOUTER INN. ISHMAEL COMES IN TO FIND QUEEQUEG SITTING BY THE FIRE, LOOKING QUICKLY AT THE PAGES OF HIS BOOK.
QUEEQUEG. Three time I count fifty. Many pages many. A big book. You know words?
QUEEQUEG. I know picture. This whale. You speak words.
ISHMAEL. The heart of a whale is larger than the pipe of the waterworks at London Bridge. The water in that pipe is not so thick or fast as the blood pumping from the heart of the whale.
QUEEQUEG. True true. Thank you.
ISHMAEL. Queequeg, who are you? Where are you from?
QUEEQUEG. My father king ... high chief. My uncle high priest in islands. West south far away. Ship come by island. I take canoe, I sail, I swim, I climb rope, I hide. Ship take me far. Many years. See all world.
ISHMAEL. Odd ... many’s the Christian wishes he was a dark man on a cannibal isle. What next, Queequeg?
QUEEQUEG. Sail ship. You?
ISHMAEL. Tomorrow I hope to sign aboard any ship in search of whales.
QUEEQUEG. I sign too. Your boat my boat. I eat same food, we sail on same waters. We kill same whale. We friends! Same blood, same head, all same!
SCENE - NEXT DAY AT THE HARBOUR. ISHMAEL AND QUEEQUEG WALK ALONG THE DOCK, LOOKING AT THE WHALING SHIPS. QUEEQUEG HAS HIS HARPOON.
ISHMAEL. Well, which shall it be, Queequeg? Titbit? Not a bad ship. What to you say to the Devil Dam?
SCENE - THEY WALK UP TO THE PEQUOD
ISHMAEL. Look at the ivory she’s wearing! It’s all clipped out from the bones of her victims. Those cleats, made from whales’ teeth. And the tiller, Queequeg! It’s carved from a whale’s jaw.
SCENE - THEY GO ABOARD THE PEQUOD. A QUAKER MAN CALLS OUT TO THEM.
PELEG. Ahoy there! Someone aboard?
ISHMAEL. Is this the captain of the Pequod?
PELEG. What dost thee want of the captain?
ISHMAEL. We were thinking of shipping.
PELEG. Oh, thee art thinking of shipping.
ISHMAEL. I art ... I mean I dost ...
PELEG. Art making sport of me, lad?
ISHMAEL. No ... I just fell into that manner of speech.
PELEG. If I weren’t a Quaker and a man of peace I’d fetch thee a clout on the side of the head, my lad, just to make sure. I see thee art no New Bedford man. Dost know nothing at all about whaling, I dare say, eh?
ISHMAEL. I’ve had several voyages in the merchant service.
PELEG. Merchant service? Flukes! What takes thee whaling?
ISHMAEL. Sir, I want to see what whaling is like.
PELEG. Have you seen Ahab, the captain of this ship? If thee want to know what whaling is, then thee’ll know by clapping an eye on Captain Ahab. Ye’ll see a man torn apart from crown to heel, and spliced back together again with sperm whale bone in place of what’s missing. His looks tell more than any churchyard sermon about the mortality of man.
ISHMAEL. And a whale did that?
PELEG. A whale as big as an island. Art thee the man to pitch a harpoon down a whale’s throat and jump after it?
ISHMAEL. I am, sir ... if it should be positively indispensable to do so.
PELEG. Come along, then.
SCENE - ON THE PEQUOD’S QUARTERDECK. PELEG. LEADS ISHMAEL AND QUEEQEG TO WHERE ANOTHER QUAKER IS SITTING BEHIND A DESK, READING THE BIBLE.
PELEG. Bildad, stir yourself, this young man says he wants to ship!
BILDAD. Hast never been a pirate, hast thee?
BILDAD. Dids’t not murder thy last captain at sea?
ISHMAEL. Oh, indeed not!
BILDAD. He’ll do.
PELEG. Bildad, what pay shall we give him?
BILDAD. A 777th part would not be too much, would it?
PELEG. For this strapping lad? Not half enough.
BILDAD. Captain Peleg, thou hast a generous heart. Thee must consider the duty thou owest to the owners of this ship. Widows and orphans, many of them. If we too abundantly reward the labours of this young man, we will be taking bread from their mouths.
ISHMAEL. My last ...
PELEG. I’m putting him down for the 300th part of the profit. Do you hear, Bildad, the 300th part, I say.
BILDAD. Lay not up for yourself treasures upon Earth, where moth and rust do corrupt.
ISHMAEL. My last pay was ...
BILDAD. The 777th part seems fair enough to me.
PELEG. The 300th.
ISHMAEL. Captain, I ...
BILDAD. Don’t thank me, lad, I only do thee justice. [HE GIVES ISHMAEL A PEN TO SIGN THE SHIP’S BOOKS]
BILDAD. What holds thee? Sign!
ISHMAEL. Well, sir, it’s ... it’s Captain Ahab.
BILDAD. What about him?
ISHMAEL. Was not Ahab of old a very wicked king? And when he was slain, did the dogs not lick his blood?
BILDAD. Look, lad, Captain Ahab did not name himself. Sign the paper now and wrong him not because he happens to have a wicked name. [ISHMAEL SIGNS]
BILDAD. And now for that son of darkness that is thy friend.
ISHMAEL. Queequeg! Step forward!
PELEG. What say you, Bildad?
BILDAD. I suspect that thee art not a Christian. Dost thee attend church on Sundays? Dost thee know and obey the Ten Commandments? [QUEEQUEG SPITS, THEN THROWS HIS HARPOON AT A DISTANT BARREL WITH A SMALL WHITE MARK ON IT.]
BILDAD. Good Lord, man, take the pen, make thy mark, sign thou for a 60th part of our profit. Quick, now, quick!
SCENE - A RAINY DAY. MEN ARE LOADING THE PEQUOD WITH SUPPLIES, INCLUDING BARRELS, SACKS, A NET FULL OF LIVE CHICKENS, AND A PIG
PELEG. Lantern kegs, 15 ... rubber pipes ...
SCENE - ISHMAEL AND QUEEQUEG ARRIVE AT THE SHIP. A STRANGE RAGGED MAN WATCHES THEM FROM BEHIND SOME BARRELS.
STRANGER. Avast there! [THEY STOP TO LISTEN]
STRANGER. Art thou going aboard, shipmate?
STRANGER. Hey, shipmate, have you signed to sail on that ship? Have you signed to sail the Pequod, I say. Was there anything down about signing away your souls?
STRANGER. Perhaps you haven’t got any. Have you met old Ahab yet, then, have you?
ISHMAEL. What are you jabbering about, shipmate?
STRANGER. Did they tell you how his mother birthed him, turned from him, gave him his evil name and died? Did they tell you how God’s lightning struck down and branded him? Did they tell you how he spat in the holy goblet in the church of Valparaiso? And did they tell you what happened his last voyage?
ISHMAEL. I know all about him being crippled by a whale. [TO QUEEQUEG] Come on.
STRANGER. All about it, eh. You sure you do? Sure? Did they tell you how the whale marked him inside as well as out? Did they tell you the mischief it worked on his soul? No, I don’t think they did, how could they, who’d know it? Not many, I guess.
ISHMAEL. Ah, you can’t fool us, it’s the easiest thing in the world for a man to look like he’s got a great secret in him.
STRANGER. I have, lad, I have. At sea one day you’ll smell land where there be no land. And on that day, Ahab will go to his grave but he’ll rise again within the hour. He will rise and beckon. Then all, all save one, shall follow. [HE STARTS TO BACK AWAY]. Morning. Morning. May the heavens bless you.
ISHMAEL. Hey, you. What’s your name?
STRANGER. Elijah. My name is Elijah.
SCENE - THE CREW IS GOING ABOARD THE SHIP. A WOMAN OFFERS THEM EACH A FREE BIBLE
SAILOR #1. No thank you, I’m sorry, I have mine.
SAILOR #2. Thank you, ma’am.
SCENE - THE CREW ARE WORKING ON DECK. PELEG AND BILDAD WATCH
PELEG. Now don’t wear it too much on the Lord’s day, you men, but don’t lose a fair chance either.
SCENE - MEN CLIMB THE RIGGING TO MAKE SAIL
MR FLASK. Spring, there, you sons of bachelors! Jump! Spring, there, green pants! You skulker! Spring!
BILDAD. Good white cedar peck, three per cent more this year than the last.
MR STARBUCK SEES HIS WIFE AND TWO SONS STANDING ON THE “WIDOW’S WALK” OF HIS HOUSE. HIS SONS ARE WAVING. STARBUCK WAVES BACK HALF-HEARTEDLY.
STUBB. Hoist the yards!
SCENE - THE SAILORS HAUL TOGETHER ON A HALYARD TO RAISE THE MAIN YARD
SAILOR [SINGING A SHANTY]. Our boots and clothes are all in pawn!
SAILORS [IN CHORUS]. Go down, you blood-red roses, go down!
SAILOR. And it’s mighty drafty round the Cape of Storms.
SAILORS. Go down, you blood-red roses, go down!
SAILOR. Oh, you binks and posies!
SAILORS. Go down, you blood-red roses, go down!
BILDAD. Take care of the butter, 20 cents a pound, it is.
PELEG. Bildad, stop palavering!
BILDAD. Three years is a long while going. God have you in His holy keeping!
STUBB. Avast heaving!
FLASK. Heave away forward!
SAILOR [SINGING]. There's some that's bound for New York town,
And others is bound for France,
SAILORS [IN CHORUS]. Heave away, my Johnny, heave away.
SAILOR. And some that's bound for the Bengal Bay
To teach them whales a dance
SAILORS. And away my Johnny boy, we're all bound to go.
SAILOR. Come all you hard-weather sailors,
Who round the Cape of Storms
SAILORS. Heave away, my Johnny, heave away.
SAILOR. Be sure you've got an oilskin coat,
Or you'll wish you'd never been born
SAILORS. And away my Johnny boy, we're all bound to go.
STUBB. Cast off!
SCENE - THE SHIP WARPS OUT OF HARBOUR. THE CREWMEN WAVE GOODBYE TO THE WOMEN STANDING ON THE DOCK. THEY MAKE SAIL.
STARBUCK. Up helm.
HELMSMAN. Up helm ... around the world!
SCENE - THE SHIP IS NOW AT SEA.
ISHMAEL. The Pequod beat an easterly course, towards the whaling grounds off the Azores. The crew came from all the isles of the sea, all the ends of the Earth, from Greenland to Mombasa, from Clyde to ... Kokoboko.
Flask, the third mate, bullied everybody bigger than himself, particularly whales, with whom he carried on a one-sided feud as though the great leviathans had mortally insulted him and his forebears.
And there was Pip, black little Pip, the cabin boy from Alabama.
Second in command was Starbuck, whose Quaker stock had furnished many a whaleboat with its champion. No crusader after perils, his courage was one of the great staples of the ship, like beef or flour, there when required, and not to be foolishly wasted.
Ship’s carpenter. He fixed everything from stove boats to broken arms and legs.
Firth the blacksmith lived amidst thick, hovering flights of sparks. He breathed them in and out, they nested in his ears, but Firth cared not, for as he said, he was scorched all over and you cannot scorch a scar.
Queequeg was our first harpooneer. Next was Tashtego, the Indian from a great warrior race of red men, come to hunt whale instead of buffalo.
Then Daggoo, who had his boldness and majesty and grace from having killed a lion single-handed, and partaken of its flesh.
Stubb, the second mate. Stubb, who’d have tied a bowline in the Devil’s tail for a joke! Carefree, foolish, laughing, wise Stubb.
Of our supreme lord and dictator, there was no sign. Ahab stayed silent behind his locked door, all the daylight hours.
SCENE - THE FO’C’SLE (THE CREW’S ACCOMMODATION) AT NIGHT. THERE IS THE SOUND OF A MAN WITH AN ARTIFICIAL LEG WALKING ON THE DECK
ISHMAEL. It’s him again. It’s Ahab.
QUEEQUEG. Ahab come out in moonlight.
ISHMAEL. Strange. Only at night. Every night, all alone, walking the deck.
SCENE - DAYTIME. THE PEQUOD SAILS ALONG, THE MEN CLEAN THE DECKS.
MANXMAN. Sunday. “Holystone it”, they say. And when you’re done, what happens? “Start over again”, they say. Clean it up, sand it down, buff it off. Keeps you busy, lad. No time for mischief! Ah, here we go. [ALL THE MEN STOP WORK AND LOOK UP, BECAUSE AHAB IS ON DECK]
AHAB. Mr Starbuck.
AHAB. Call everybody aft.
STARBUCK. All hands aft! Down mastheads!
ALL THE MEN GO TO THE REAR OF THE SHIP’S DECK
AHAB. What do you do when you see a whale, men?
SAILOR #2. Sing out for him!
AHAB. Good. What do you do next?
CREWMEN. Pull away after him!
AHAB. What tune is it you pull to, men?
CREWMEN. A dead whale or a stove boat!
AHAB. All you mastheaders, now hear me. You’re to look for a white whale. A whale as white and as big as a mountain of snow. [HE HOLDS UP A LARGE COIN] See this Spanish gold ounce? Carpenter, hand me your top-maul. [THE CARPENTER GIVES HIM A HAMMER] Whosoever of ye finds me that white whale, he shall have this Spanish gold ounce, my boys. [HE NAILS THE COIN TO THE SHIP’S MAST]. It’s a white whale, I say. Skin your eyes for him.
TASHTEGO. Captain, sir. Would it be the one that fantail a little curious before he go down?
DAGGOO. Has he a curious spout, sir, all fizzy and like *
QUEEQUEG. Has his hide many irons, all twisted around?
AHAB. Aye, like corkscrews. He’s struck full of harpoons, men. And his spout is a big one, like a whole shock o’ wheat. And he fantails like a broken jib in a storm! Death, men, you’ve seen him. It’s Moby Dick.
STARBUCK. Captain Ahab, was it not Moby Dick took off thy leg?
AHAB. Aye, it was Moby Dick that tore my soul and body until they bled into each other. Aye, and I’ll follow him around the Horn, and around the Norway Maelstrom, and around Perdition’s flames before I give him up. This is what you’ve shipped for, men. To chase that white whale on both sides of land, and over all sides of Earth, ‘til he spouts black blood and rolls dead out. What say ye? I think you do look brave. Will you splice hands on it?
AHAB. Steward, go and draw the great measure of grog! Harpooneers, get your weapons. Mates, the lances. Ye mariners, now ring me in, that I may revive a noble custom of my fisherman fathers. [PIP GIVES HIM A LARGE CONTAINER OF RUM AND WATER] The measure! Drink and pass! Round with it, round, quick draughts, small swallows, men, it’s hot as Satan’s hoof! That way it went, this way it comes, it spiralizes in ye! Here, hand it me. Well done, almost drained! Lance mates! [THE SHIP’S THREE MATES STAND IN FRONT OF HIM] Cross your lances.
THEY LOOK AT EACH OTHER, AND THEN HOLD THEM UP IN A CROSS
Now, let me touch the axis. [HE TAKES HOLD OF THE LANCES] Do you feel it? That same lightning that struck me, I now strike to this iron! Does it burn, men? Does it burn? Harpooneers, break your weapons. [THEY PULL THE IRON HEAD OF EACH HARPOON FROM ITS WOODEN PART] Turn up the sockets. [HE FILLS THEM WITH RUM AND WATER], Drink, you harpooneers. Drink and swear. “God hunt us all, if we do not hunt Moby Dick to his death.” [CAPTAIN AHAB AND THE THREE HARPOONEERS ALL DRINK.]
DAGGOO Death to Moby Dick! Death to Moby Dick!
SCENE - BELOW DECKS. THE CREW ARE EATING
ISHMAEL. Moby Dick ... do they name certain whales, then?
MANXMAN. Aye, special big murdering whales with long histories, whales who’ve killed ten times a hundred men. Whales like Timor Tim, New Zealand Tom, or Morcan, king of the Japan seas. Whales have big names to go with big doings, and the biggest of them all is Moby Dick.
ISHMAEL. A white whale, Ahab said. Can a whale be white?
MANXMAN. He’s white. Whiter than all the snow that ever fell. Like a great marble tombstone, he is, afloat. Wherever he swims, white sky-birds wheel above him, birds white as angels.
SAILOR #2. Which oceans does he swim in, Manxman?
MANXMAN. All oceans. He’s been spied in different seas a thousand miles apart, on the same day, at the same hour.
SAILOR #2. Maybe he ain’t just one whale, but a whole breed. Maybe Moby Dick’s a hundred whales.
MANXMAN. Then they all have crooked jaws, and wrinkled brows, and a dozen irons stuck in their white humps. Aye, many have lowered for Moby Dick and struck him only to know his vengeance! Some have boasted they killed him, but always he comes gliding back, huge and white and secret-like. Immortal, they say.
SAILOR #2. You ain’t trying to scare us, Manxman?
MANXMAN. I say what I say.
MASTHEAD LOOKOUT. There she blows! Sperm whale to starboard! There she blows! There go flukes! Flukes gone down!
AHAB. Stow line tubs! Clew up the mainsail! Clear away boats!
STUBB. Flask! Bet you a dollar we strike first!
FLASK. Right, Stubb, a dollar you don’t!
THREE BOATS ARE LOWERED, AND THEY ROW AFTER THE WHALE
STUBB. That’s it, boys! Pull like men! Why in the name of gudgeons and ginger cakes can’t you pull and start your eyes out! Why don’t you break your backbones, boys! Pull and * !
FLASK. Pull boys! Pull, blast you! Crack the oars off!
STUBB. Pull, *, and burst all your livers and lungs! Stop snoring, you sleepers! Pull, can’t you, pull won’t you! Merrily, hearts. [EACH BOAT THROWS A HARPOON INTO THE WHALE, WHICH TOWS THEM ALONG BEHIND IT AT HIGH SPEED]
SAILOR #3. Man overboard!
STUBB. Cutting loose! [HE CUTS THE ROPE WITH A KNIFE. IN THE OTHER BOATS, FLASK AND STARBUCK THROW LANCES INTO THE WHALE, WHICH STARTS TO SPOUT BLOOD. AS IT DIES, IT TURNS ONE OF THE BOATS UPSIDE DOWN. IT’S ISHMAEL’S BOAT]
ISHMAEL. Queequeg, my fine friend, does this sort of thing happen very often?
QUEEQUEG. True true.
SCENE - NIGHT ON THE PEQUOD. THE MEN ARE WORKING, CUTTING THE FLESH OFF THE WHALE AND MELTING THE BLUBBER FOR OIL.
ISHMAEL. And so we stripped our first whale, and boiled the blubber down to a fine, pure oil. It would keep the lamps burning in a thousand homes, the clocks ticking on their mantelpieces, and perhaps anoint the head of a king. And when at last we cast the whale’s bared bones into the sea, we were in no way sad at its funeral. [THE MEN SING AND DANCE. STARBUCK WATCHES, THEN GOES TO THE CAPTAIN’S CABIN. AHAB IS ASLEEP IN HIS CHAIR, TALKING IN HIS SLEEP.]