Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
The role of the hat in saving the Captain's ship:
During the time Leggatt is on the ship, the Captain's only concern is to ensure that he is not discovered. The Captain finally takes the initiative in deciding that Leggatt should leave. They decide the dropping off place. The Captain can barely present himself to the crew for fear of alarming them by his nervousness. As the ship makes toward Koh-ring, the Captain slips below to escort his double to the quarter deck ports, and offers Leggatt money ("sovereigns"). Suddenly the Captain takes off his hat and tries to put it on Leggatt's head. It is the first unmediated act that the Captain has done since Leggatt's arrival. A few minutes later, the ship approaches Koh-ring, "the gateway of Erebus." The Captain feels confident when he brings the ship about and knows that Leggatt has slipped away. He only needs to know in which direction the ship is moving in order to give proper orders to the helmsman. The hat provides the information. The Captain has given the hat to his double out of sympathy for him. It is a sudden impulse, an irrational act that ultimately leads to the successful navigation of the ship. To meet his double is not enough. The Captain must feel genuine pity for him.