What does Ishmael notice about Ahab's appearance?

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Ishmael hears quite a bit of lore about Captain Ahab, but it is a long time before he actually sees the man himself. When he does, he notices that Ahab looks both old and strong. He has gray hair and seems bronzed, like a statue. He has a white scar...

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Ishmael hears quite a bit of lore about Captain Ahab, but it is a long time before he actually sees the man himself. When he does, he notices that Ahab looks both old and strong. He has gray hair and seems bronzed, like a statue. He has a white scar running down the side of his face and neck, which Ishmael likens to the scar formed when lightening strikes a tree.

Ishmael is at first so powerfully riveted by the "grim" appearance of Ahab that he doesn't notice his false leg. When his eyes travel there, he notes it is made of the "polished bone of the sperm whale’s jaw."

Although Ahab says nothing, Ishmael finds him an intimidating figure, standing silent on the deck, his false leg fitted into a hole made to hold it. He looks both willful and as if he is suffering, and the crew is uneasy being under his watchful eye. In fact, he is a bit terrifying. Ishmael writes of him:

There was an infinity of firmest fortitude, a determinate, unsurrenderable willfulness, in the fixed and fearless, forward dedication of that glance.

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Ishmael's first impressions of Captain Ahab are a mixture of shock and awe. Ahab is an imposing figure, to say the least. There's a real power and intensity about him, reflected in the permanently serious expression on his gloomy face. In addition, Ishmael notices that Ahab's face has a long white scar running down its full length. This testifies to a certain toughness about his whole character. No one quite knows how he got the scar, but judging by its length, it must have been caused by a very painful encounter indeed. The origins of Ahab's artificial limb is no mystery, though; he lost his leg to the great white whale himself, Moby Dick. And ever since that fateful day, Ahab has been obsessed with revenge, determined to hunt down and kill the creature who attacked him.

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