Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Quotes 💬

Throughout Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea he utilizes many thoughtful quotes about exploration, rage, and nature. 

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Jules Verne

Below are some of the best quotes from Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. They are spoken by Captain Nemo, Professor Aronnax, and Conseil and touch on topics like ocean exploration, vengeance, and more. 

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Quotes


So let me tell you that you will not regret the time spent on board my vessel. You are going to travel through a wonderland. Astonishment and stupefaction will probably be your normal state of mind. You will not easily become blasé about the sights continually offered to your eyes. I am going to embark on a new underwater tour of the world—who knows, perhaps the last?—and revisit everything I have studied on my many travels; and you will be my study companion. 

This quote is directed at Professor Aronnax and is spoken by Captain Nemo. He is using all the means he has at his disposal to convince the Professor that together, they will “embark on a new underwater tour of the world.” He knows exactly what to say to Aronnax to interest him in the scientific discoveries that might be possible on board the Nautilus. 

Throughout the novel, the Professor sees Nemo and his incredible submarine as a means to an end. He hopes to discover new sights and species while taking advantage of the resources that Nemo has.

I would like to finish seeing what no man has yet seen, even if I have to pay for this insatiable need to know with my life! What have I discovered to date? Nothing, or almost nothing, since we have covered only 6,000 leagues of the Pacific! 

This quote is another that proves how consumed by the concepts of exploration and discovery Aronnax is. He has romanticized Nemo and his submarine and believes that the Captain is offering him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see “what no man has yet seen.” He even suggests that he’s willing to lose his life in the captivity of Nemo and his crew. Despite having seen a great deal already, he says that he has seen “almost nothing” they have only covered “6,000 leagues of the Pacific,” and there are many more to go. His desire for discovery and the later respect it will bring him is insatiable.

The year 1866 was signalised by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and puzzling phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten. 

The opening lines of the novel immediately inform readers that something remarkable has happened. It is this remarkable event that sparks a great deal of study and the voyage of the Abraham Lincoln. Initially, the characters are under the impression that a large creature, maybe a giant narwhal, is attacking ships around Europe. But, as their exploration gets underway, they soon discover it is the much stranger and hard-to-understand Captain Nemo in his Nautilus submarine. 

Hate and Rage 

I saw the enigmatic individual as essentially pitiless and cruel, as he was forced to be. I felt him as being beyond the pale of humanity, insensible to feelings of pity, the remorseless enemy of his fellow beings, against whom he must have sworn an undying hatred.

This quote comes from the perspective of the narrator, Professor Aronnax, who is describing Captain Nemo’s rage in regard to those unknown individuals who wronged him. He describes Nemo as “enigmatic,” “pitiless and cruel.” He shows no sympathy for those he believes harmed him. This is demonstrated through his attack on the unnamed ship at the end of the novel. It’s this action that proves just how troubled and dangerous Nemo is. 

I caught a glimpse of a frightening past in this man’s life. Not only had he placed himself outside humanity’s laws, but he had made himself independent, free in the strictest sense of the word, out of all reach! Who would dare pursue him to the bottom of the seas, given that he could foil any efforts made against him on the surface?

This is yet another important quote in which the Professor is analyzing Nemo’s character. He has started to see through the idealized exterior Nemo presents and understand the anger inside him. Through choice and determination, he has placed himself outside humanity’s laws. No one would dare reach out and try to drag him back, given the power of the submarine and Nemo’s unwavering character. 

The Ocean 

The sea is nature’s vast reserve. It was through the sea that the globe as it were began, and who knows if it will not end in the sea! Perfect peace abides here. The sea does not belong to despots. On its surface immoral rights can still be claimed, men can fight each other, devour each other, and carry out all earth’s atrocities.

In this memorable quote in Chapter 10, Captain Nemo asserts his love of the sea. He speaks as though he is of a different species to humankind and, through his escape in the Nautilus, left behind the petty conflicts men engage with on land. This proves to be false throughout the novel as he demonstrates his hatred and rage towards those he believed wronged him.

When we are back on land, and take for granted so many of these brilliant works of nature’s,” added Conseil, “what will we think of the grey landmasses and insignificant works of art man has hand-crafted! No, the inhabited world is no longer worthy of us!

Professor Aronnax’s loyal servant and companion, Conseil, speaks these lines. He expresses his belief that humanity is incapable of truly appreciating nature while on firm land. Or at least that which resides in the ocean. He suggests that all natural things are superior to any “grey” works of art that humanity has created. Nothing in human history is more important, beautiful, or worthy of study than nature.


What is the theme of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea?

There are many themes at work within Jules Verne’s novel. These include themes of the natural world, specifically the ocean, exploration and discovery, and technology. Exile and alienation are also important themes that help define readers’ understanding of Captain Nemo and how he judges the world.

Is Captain Nemo and the Nautilus real?

No, Captain Nemo is a fictional character created by science-adventure writer Jules Verne. He first appeared in Verne’s novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Later, he also features in L’Île mystérieuse or The Mysterious Island. 

Does Captain Nemo believe in God?

Captain Nemo shows respect for a God-like force, but he doesn’t believe that God will right all wrongs. This is something he takes into his own hands, seeking revenge against those who harmed him. 

Who is Prince Dakkar? 

Prince Dakkar is the real identity of Captain Nemo, the vengeful and brilliant commander of the Nautilus (featured in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea). In The Mysterious Island, he identifies himself as Dakkar, the son of the raja of Bundelkhand. 

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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