20,000 Leagues under the Sea | Study Guide

Jules Verne

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "20,000 Leagues under the Sea Study Guide." Course Hero. 29 June 2017. Web. 13 June 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/20000-Leagues-under-the-Sea/>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, June 29). 20,000 Leagues under the Sea Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 13, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/20000-Leagues-under-the-Sea/

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "20,000 Leagues under the Sea Study Guide." June 29, 2017. Accessed June 13, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/20000-Leagues-under-the-Sea/.


Course Hero, "20,000 Leagues under the Sea Study Guide," June 29, 2017, accessed June 13, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/20000-Leagues-under-the-Sea/.

20,000 Leagues under the Sea | Part 2, Chapters 22–23 | Summary



Part 2, Chapter 22: Captain Nemo's Last Words

Dr. Aronnax is panic-stricken and unable to sleep as images from the sinking replay in his mind on a loop. The Nautilus heads north at a rapid pace, and the next two or three weeks unravel in a daze. He's unable to make heads or tails of the ship's locations except that it has been traveling through Arctic regions. When he wakes up one morning, Ned Land is leaning over him. He whispers he is planning to escape that evening. He says he's spotted land approximately 20 miles to the east, and despite the stormy seas, he thinks the dinghy can make the journey. And if it can't, so be it. This time, Dr. Aronnax doesn't put up any resistance: "We will try to escape tonight, even if the sea does swallow us up!" They agree to meet at the dinghy at 10:00.

He's so nervous he must force himself to eat at dinner. He spends some time in the salon, trying his best to forget all of the incredible discoveries it contains, and then dresses in warm clothes. At just before 10:00 he hears Captain Nemo playing his organ in the salon, which he must pass to make it to the dinghy. He is terrified of having to speak with the captain, but the room is completely dark, so he is able to crawl across the floor. As he about to reach the door, however, he hears Captain Nemo cry and then say these words, "God almighty! Enough! Enough!" He reaches the boat, where he finds Conseil and Ned Land disconnecting it from the submarine. Suddenly, the men hear panicked voices coming from the submarine shouting the word "Maelstrom!" Dr. Aronnax then realizes the Nautilus must be caught in the notorious zone between the Faeroe Islands and the Lofoten Islands, whose devastating current resembles a whirlpool. The men struggle in vain to reconnect the boat to the submarine, which is spinning dizzyingly in the whirlpool, but the bolts release and Dr. Aronnax is knocked out.

Part 2, Chapter 23: Conclusion

He wakes up in the home of a Lofoten Islands fisherman with no recollection of how he got there. Conseil and Ned Land are by his side, squeezing his hands. Halfway through this final chapter of the book, Dr. Aronnax changes to the present tense and directly addresses the reader. He says the story the reader has just finished is his account of his nearly 10-month, 20,000-league adventure on the Nautilus. Still, so many unanswered questions remain: the fate of the Nautilus, the fate of Captain Nemo, Captain Nemo's history, and more. He ends with the hope that the Nautilus survived and a quote from the Book of Ecclesiastes.


At the end of the book, the bond between Dr. Aronnax, Conseil, and Ned Land is as solid as the Nautilus's steel hull. "We will die together, friend Ned," Dr. Aronnax says calmly when Ned tells him he will fight any of Captain Nemo's crewmembers to the death if they try to block his escape. Their shared trauma has tied them together forever.

Before he leaves the ship, Dr. Aronnax seems to express a trace of sympathy for Captain Nemo. When he encounters the captain in the salon playing the organ as he crawls toward his escape, he observes that the captain's "oppressed breast heaved with sobbings." The description conveys intense sadness—the remorse and self-reflection (perhaps self-absorption) that are often apparent when he is at the organ. He also wonders if the captain's utterance, "God Almighty! Enough! Enough!" is a plea for forgiveness or an apology, and at the very end of the book, he hopes "the contemplation of so many marvels [extinguishes his] desire for revenge!" Despite Captain Nemo's horrifying behavior, Dr. Aronnax remembers his positive contributions to the world as an engineer, scientist, crew leader, and adventurer.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about 20,000 Leagues under the Sea? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!