Around the World in Eighty Days | Study Guide

Jules Verne

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Around the World in Eighty Days | Chapter 33 : Where Phileas Fogg proves himself equal to the situation | Summary



Captain Speedy will never change his course from Bordeaux to Liverpool, so Phileas Fogg pays the crew to get him to his desired port on time, locks Speedy in his quarters, and becomes Captain Fogg. They make good time for half of the trip, but then they hit storms. Because of their speed, they use up most of their coal supply. Fogg buys the Henrietta from Captain Speedy for $60,000, but only after the captain agrees to allow the crew to strip the ship of any wood to keep the furnace blasting. They land in Ireland, take a train to Dublin, and another to England. At 11:40 a.m. on December 21, they disembark in Liverpool. As soon as Phileas Fogg steps on British soil, Fix arrests him for robbery.


This chapter partially solves the mystery of Phileas Fogg's past and how he earned his financial status. Although it seems as though he has given in to Captain Speedy's unshakable decision to sail to France, he never considers backing down from his goal. Instead, once at sea, he locks Captain Speedy in his quarters and takes command of the Henrietta. He keeps the crew's wallets fat by handing out money as they sail full-throttle to England. Fogg's ability to "navigate like an experienced sailor" shows he is comfortable on ships as well as knowledgeable about such particulars as wind direction and its effect on the speed of steamships. This, combined with his vast geographic knowledge and disinterest in sightseeing from Egypt through Japan, suggests a, "been there, done that" attitude. He likely earned from great business deals tied to the Age of Imperialism, such as an import/export business or buying and selling land in British colonies.

All of his knowledge and ability to overcome any obstacle during their 80-day venture is in vain, though, when Fix arrests Fogg for robbery as soon as he arrives in Liverpool. Fix hesitated to arrest Fogg in Dublin, but perhaps seeing Fogg, now acting completely out of character as a pirate, changes Fix's mind and leads him to arrest Fogg. Perhaps he cannot help himself, just as he has felt compelled all along.

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