© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea


by Jules Verne

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Justice Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

"Dr. Aronnax," answered the captain sharply, "I am not what you call a civilized being! I have broken with society for reasons which I alone have the right to appreciate. So I do not obey its rules, and I ask you never to invoke them in my presence again!" (1.10.20)

If Nemo doesn't like the laws of "society", how can he expect anyone to follow his own rules onboard the Nautilus? Could the Nautilus be considered its own mini-society? Do you think Nemo is hypocritical? If so, how is he hypocritical? If not, why not?

Quote #2

No man alive could demand from him an account of his works. God, if he believed in Him, and his conscience, if he had one, were the only judges to whom he could answer. (1.10.21)

Although he doesn't say it outright, Aronnax suggests that Nemo might not even believe in God or have a conscience. If that last bit is true, dude is a sociopath and Arronax should've gotten the heck off of his sub a long time ago. So why didn't he? What keeps Arronax onboard with Nemo?

Quote #3

I began to reflect upon the incidents of our excursion to Mannar Bank. Two reflections inevitably followed. One was the outstanding bravery of Captain Nemo; the other his devotion to a fellow creature, a representative of the human race that he shunned under the seas. Whatever he might say, this strange man had not yet totally succeeded in killing his heart.

When I said as much to him he replied, with some little emotion:

"That Indian, doctor, is the inhabitant of an oppressed country. I am his compatriot, and shall remain so to my very last breath." (2.3.87-9)

It seems safe to say that Nemo hates the institutions of man—say, government—more than he hates individual men. He's clearly got a soft spot for this Indian and that one Greek dude. He even seems to like Aronnax, until Aronnax straight-up asks Nemo for permission to leave the Nautilus. We guess misanthropy and an affinity for some particular human beings can coexist after all.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...