When Ahab offers the gold doubloon to the first person in the crew who spots Moby Dick, the crew is in awe. Starbuck, however, is horrified and aghast, saying to Ahab, as the lightning flashes:
God, God is against thee, old man; forbear! ’tis an ill voyage!
Starbuck advises heading immediately for home, feeling terrible premonitions about the disaster that will follow should Ahab confront the whale. But Ahab has no intention of a homeward voyage.
Many chapters earlier, Starbuck had also expressed his deep distress at Ahab's scheme of revenge against Moby Dick, saying:
Vengeance on a dumb brute! … that simply smote thee from blindest instinct! Madness! To be enraged with a dumb thing, Captain Ahab, seems blasphemous.
Ahab, however, expresses a very different opinion. To him, the whale is not just a whale, but the face of evil. The whale represents to Ahab the idea of evil in the world, an existential evil that must be faced head on with all his strength, and if possible, destroyed. To Ahab, the creature is not simply a "dumb brute" who acts on instinct, but a being purposely spiteful and bent on wicked deeds. Ahab explains how he feels about the whale in the following quote:
I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him.
Ahab is explaining that whether the whale is the tool of the evil one or evil incarnate, Ahab is going to fight him because he hates what he represents.
As the crew comes closer to battle, Ahab rallies them as if they are about to go out onto a medieval battlefield, saying:
Death to Moby Dick! God hunt us all, if we do not hunt Moby Dick to his death!
The crew members cheer on Ahab with "cries" and curses aimed at the whale, while Starbuck looks on in horror.