Around the World in Eighty Days | Study Guide

Jules Verne

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Around the World in Eighty Days | Character Analysis


Phileas Fogg

Phileas Fogg is meticulously precise about every aspect of his life. His brain functions like a clock. He keeps his past and present life so private his heart is a safety deposit box, and he has the only key. A painstakingly fastidious man, his daily schedule is planned down to the number of steps he takes between his home and the gentleman's club where he spends the majority of his waking hours. One evening at the Reform Club during a conversation about a recent robbery at the Bank of England, Phileas Fogg and his fellow card players get into a discussion that leads Fogg to bet he can travel the world in 80 days. His skeptical acquaintances take him up on the £20,000 wager. He tells them he will succeed, using mathematical precision: The bet will begin at 8:45 p.m. that very same evening. Using every type of transportation available in the year 1872, Phileas Fogg and his trusty new valet, Passepartout, travel around the globe, revealing just what sort of man Phileas Fogg really is: a caring, compassionate hero who places friendship and duty over money and winning.


Frenchman Jean Passepartout reveals a personality diametrically opposite his employer, Phileas Fogg. Although Passepartout's deportment fits the wealthy Englishman's expectations for a manservant, he is not emotionally frozen like his boss. Passion rules his personality. His gregarious tendency to talk with strangers adds to an escalating tension with a police detective, Mr. Fix, who follows Passepartout and Phileas Fogg around the globe. Passepartout laughs joyfully when riding on an elephant and sobs when he thinks his actions have destroyed Phileas Fogg financially. His escapades—with Hindu priests, as an acrobat in a circus in Japan, as a gymnast clambering up and down masts during a typhoon—serve as comic relief. However, Passepartout's loyalty and devotion to Phileas Fogg is serious and absolute.


Detective Fix, obsessed with his suspect, Phileas Fogg, resembles a horse wearing blinders. Once Fix makes up his mind Fogg is the Bank of England robber, nothing can change his mind, not even the generosity, kindness, or heroism of Phileas Fogg himself. If Fix can nab the criminal, he will be rewarded £2,000 and 5% of what's left of the stolen money. Fix allows the money to mesmerize him to the point where he misinterprets everything that happens in his long journey following Phileas Fogg around the world, which almost costs Fogg everything he has. A devious man, Fix teeters on the line between what is moral and immoral and almost becomes a criminal himself. In the end, Fix is forgiven for doing his duty even if he has gone to extremes.

Mrs. Aouda

Mrs. Aouda, a charming young woman, is destined to burn to death on a funeral pyre beside her deceased rajah husband before Phileas Fogg, Passepartout, Sir Cromarty, and a Parsee elephant driver execute a daring and dangerous plan to rescue her. Mrs. Aouda, the only female in the story, is adventurous, tough, and brave as she journeys around the world with Phileas Fogg. Her gratitude turns into love for the man who rescues her, and she thaws his emotionally frozen heart.

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