What reward does Ahab offer his men if they capture the white whale in "Moby Dick"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ahab says that the man who "raises me a white-headed whale with a wrinkled brow and a crooked jaw...with three holes punctured in his starboard fluke" shall receive as a reward "a sixteen-dollar piece...a doubloon".  With much fanfare, he displays the shining Spanish ounce of gold and nails it to the mast as a reminder to all of what their main objective on the voyage must be.  Ahab rallies the men, rhetorically asking them to run through the steps they should follow in raising the cry should they spy the white whale.  Three of the men, Tashtego, Daggoo, and Queequeg, have heard of the whale in question before, and recognize it as the notorious Moby Dick.  It is Starbuck who realizes that it was Moby Dick who "dismasted" the Captain; when Ahab confirms that the object of their pursuit is indeed the white whale who took his leg, the men gain a better understanding of their Captain's feverish obsession (Chapter 36).