Around the World in Eighty Days: Chapter 13

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Summary of Chapter Thirteen: “In which Passepartout receives a new proof that fortune favors the brave”

 

Everyone realizes Fogg is risking his life, his liberty, and his bet to rescue the woman, for he is interfering in a local religion and doing something much worse than Passepartout did in the temple. Sir Francis goes along with the scheme and Passepartout is happy because he sees his master is good. He begins to love Fogg.

 

The guide also wants to help because the woman is a Parsee as he is. He explains the princess is the daughter of a Bombay merchant and has had an English education. She could pass for European. Her name is Aouda.

 

It is Passepartout who comes up with an idea, while the hour of the sacrifice arrives and Fogg is seen with a knife in his hand watching from a hidden place. As the pyre is lit with the princess next to the corpse of her husband, Fogg is about to rush to save her, but Sir Francis restrains him. At that moment the dead rajah appears to stand up and  frightens the mourners. He lifts his wife in his arms and makes for the forest. It is Passepartout himself who has played the part of the rajah. The Indians pursue Fogg’s party, now on the elephant making their escape.

 

Commentary on Chapter Thirteen

 

This chapter is pure melodrama of the kind Verne’s audiences were used to—the rescue of a beautiful woman from a horrible death. Though Fogg is ready to play the hero himself with his knife drawn, it is the actor, acrobat and ex-fireman, Passepartout, who is agile enough to get to the princess and carry her off the pyre through a comic ruse.

 

We see a new side to Fogg and Passepartout. The clumsy servant becomes a hero, and the cold and distant Fogg is willing to risk everything, including his precious bet, to help someone. When the guide tells them they could be tortured if caught, Fogg replies, “That is foreseen” (p. 65). Foreseeing, or seeing ahead, is part of Fogg’s method of calculation. In this case, the line is humorous as well as significant. Fogg is not spontaneous the way Passepartout is. He knows full well what the dangers are, gambling, he implies, based not on instinct, but on planning.

 

 

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