This is a touching scene between Ahab and Pip. Ahab is obliged to resist being influenced by his compassion for the little black ship's boy, who has been driven mad. "There is that in thee, poor lad, which I feel too curing to my malady. Like cures like; and for this hunt, my malady becomes my most desired health."
Pip and Ahab are in the captain's cabin, where Ahab wants Pip to stay. Pip begs to accompany his master: "Sir, do ye but use poor me for your one lost leg," And then Pip begins to cry all over again about being abandoned in the water by Stubb, and how Pip is a coward. "Sir, I must go with ye."
"If thou speakest thus to me much more, Ahab's purpose keel's up in him; I tell thee no; it cannot be." But Pip won't take no for an answer, prompting the exasperated Ahab to threaten:
"Weep so, and I will murder thee! have a care, for Ahab too is mad."
This is not the first time that Ahab has threatened the life of one of his crew. As far as being mad, there s a method in his madness. It's a performance calculated to keep up his fury against Moby Dick. He locks Pip in the cabin, telling him he can play captain. Ahab goes up on deck, leaving Pip alone.
Pip sits at the table and hallucinates. He presides at a table full of naval officers -- "epaulets! epaulets! What an odd feeling, now, when a black boy's host to white men with gold lace upon their coats! -- Monsieurs, have ye seen one Pip? Jumped from a whale boat once. Let's drink shame upon all cowards. I name no names. Shame upon them!"