Who owns the "Pequod" in "Moby Dick?  

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sciftw's profile pic

sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Bildad and Peleg are the two main owners of the ship.  Readers are first informed about the Pequod's ownership in chapter sixteen.  Ishmael is looking for a ship to join, and he comes across the Pequod.  On board, he meets Captain Peleg.  Ishmael at first assumes that Peleg is the captain of the Pequod, but Peleg explains Ishmael's error.  It is at this point in the novel that readers learn that Peleg and Bildad are the main shareholders of the ship, and they are in charge of outfitting the ship and supplying everything aboard (including the crew).  That means while Captain Ahab is indeed a real captain, he is a hired crew member that must continue to earn his place aboard the ship.  

"It belongs to me and Captain Bildad to see the Pequod fitted out for the voyage, and supplied with all her needs, including crew. We are part owners and agents."

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thetall's profile pic

thetall | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The Pequod’s ownership can be compared to the ownership of an established company because different people own shares or pieces of the whaling ship. The majority shareholders and managers, in this case, were Captain Bildad and Captain Peleg and the minority shareholders were some members of the Nantucket community.

The Pequod is an old whaling ship with an illustrious history in the gruesome trade. The ship is under the command of Captain Ahab, a skillful captain. In one of the voyages, Captain Ahab and Peleg save the crew onboard the Pequod after the ship lost its three masts to a typhoon near the coast of Japan. The three masts are replaced with whale bones while whale teeth serve as ornaments along the railing. The design is credited to Peleg, the co-owner of the ship.

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ms-mcgregor's profile pic

ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The owners are Quaker businessmen named Bildad and Peleg. They are both strict owners and tell Ishmael about Captain Ahab. Although the Quakers were pacifists and whaling was an extremely violent occupation, Melville writes that Bildad, had probably“ long since come to the sage and sensible conclusion that a man’s religion is one thing, and this practical world quite another.” Thus they sign both Ishmael and Queequeg, a non-Christian who is an excellent harpooner to the crew of the Pequod.

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