The Character of No-one in Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

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The Character of No-one in Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Alan Quatermain, sitting hunched over and delirious from opium withdrawal, has been taken aboard a huge submersible vessel. The aging adventurer says, "P-please. I feel so sick. Need my medicine." A cold voice answers him, "You are aboard my ship, sir, and my remedies are bitter." Quatermain turns, with his eyes rolled back, teeth clenched, and streams of sweat rolling off of his face, and he says, "Who said that? ... I see you only dimly, sir. If you are real and not some opium djinn sent to torment me, tell me who you are!" A turbaned man with a long beard and curled mustache, his eyes dark with the weight of years of exploring the depths of the oceans, exploring the unknown, and seeking vengeance with a hate that consumed him but that he controlled, looked down upon Quatermain and answered, "No-one."

Captain Nemo truly is no one. He expresses no nationality or loyalty but to himself and the oceans. In the original novel, Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, written by Jules Verne, Nemo says, "Professor, I am not what you call a civilized man! I have done with society entirely, for reasons which I alone have the right of appreciating. I do not therefore obey its laws, and I desire you never to allude to them before me again!" The narrator, Professor Aronnax, states, "This was said plainly. A flash of angerand disdain kindled in the eyes of the Unknown, and I had a glimpse of a terrible past in the life of this man" (73). Captain Nemo is outside of society, living deep in the oceans; he is the terror of the unknown. His ship, the Nautilus, is thought to be a sea monster, and the legend is talked abo...

... middle of paper ... of humanity, and he showed the worst that the best of us can do.


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