Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Phileas Fogg (FIHL-ee-uhs), an English gentleman living in London. A tall, well-built man about forty years old, with light brown hair and a beard, he lives a quiet life of great regularity. Being independently wealthy, he spends most of his day at the Reform Club reading, taking his meals, and playing whist. Apparently having lived a life of travel and adventure some years earlier, he is a man of honor and integrity. Challenged by his whist partners to prove his contention that it is possible to travel around the world in eighty days, he agrees to make the trip in that amount of time and wagers twenty thousand pounds, his entire fortune. Along the way, he delays his journey to rescue Princess Aouda from death and later falls in love with her. Encountering numerous other delays and adversities in completing the trip, he remains imperturbable and loyal to his traveling companions, even when faced at the end with the loss of his remaining fortune.
Jean Passepartout (zhahn pas-par-tew), Fogg’s French manservant. A middle-aged man of pleasant and honest appearance, with brown hair and blue eyes, he possesses a portly but muscular build. Prior to serving Fogg, he led a life of travel and uncertainty; as a result, the steady and methodical lifestyle of his new master appealed to him. It is a shock to him when it is announced that they will be traveling around the world out of a carpetbag. During the course of the journey, he shows himself to be brave and resourceful. His impersonation of the dead rajah makes the rescue of Aouda possible. His actions also sometimes cause delays for his master, such as when he is arrested for violating the sanctity of a...
(The entire section is 718 words.)
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The Characters (Masterplots II: World Fiction Series)
Phileas Fogg and Jean Passepartout are the most fully delineated characters in this work. Others are one-or two-dimensional, existing primarily to advance the plot.
Fogg is a combination of types. Larger then life, he is like Odysseus, a man who is never at a loss and never perturbed. When hardships or surprises delay his voyage, he remains calm and finds another way of accomplishing his purpose. Like Odysseus he deliberately delays long enough to rescue his traveling companions. Fogg is also, like Don Quixote, embarked on a perilous quest of questionable value, but he is an inverted Quixote; unlike Miguel de Cervantes’ madman, he is completely rational, even machinelike, in his adherence to rote and in his total dependence on rational thought. He is a man of the Enlightenment, given over to reason, restraint, and decorum. Passepartout describes him as “repose in action” and “as exactly regulated as a Leroy chronometer,” yet Fogg is also impulsive: He generously gives the elephant to his guide, the whist earnings to the poor, and profit from the wager to his companions, even to Fix, who has done everything possible to prevent the completion of the journey.
Passepartout is also larger than life, though contrasting with Fogg. In many ways, Passepartout (whose name means “goes everywhere”) plays Sancho Panza to Fogg’s Quixote. He is impetuous and vulnerable. He, too, is courageous, but in a more flamboyant manner: He climbs under...
(The entire section is 518 words.)