What Was Captain Ahab's Leg Made Of?


Quick Answer

Captain Ahab's peg leg is made of whalebone ivory. Ahab lost that leg when he was attacked by the White Whale, Moby-Dick, during a voyage that took place prior to the events of the Herman Melville novel "Moby-Dick," which was first published in 1851.

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Full Answer

Ahab's loss of limb is an important element in his character; it fills him with a desire for revenge against the White Whale. It is this desire that drives much of the novel's plot. Melville describes Ahab as a monomaniac, singly and obsessively devoted to taking revenge on Moby-Dick. Ahab's hatred for the whale and his desire for revenge becomes so strong that he blames the whale for more than just taking his leg, seeing the whale as a grander force of evil and forcing his crew to help him seek revenge.

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