20,000 Leagues Under The Sea


It is a science fiction novel that was written by the French author Jules Verne. It was first published in France between 1869 and 1870. A full version of the novel was later published in 1871 by Hetzel. This edition was illustrated with 111 illustrations drawn by Alphonse de Neville and Edourd Riou. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is considered to be one of Jules Verne’s greatest works. Other novels by Jules Verne are Around the World in Eighty days and Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Each novel is still widely read today.


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is narrated by one of the protagonists named Professor Pierre Aronnax. The novel follows the adventures of the professor and two members of the crew on board Abraham Lincoln as they are hurled into the sea and picked up by Captain Nemo and his submarine, The Nautilus.

The four main protagonists then go on to explore many places together under the oceans. The ending shows the three original protagonists escaping from the Nautilus and Captain Nemo and find themselves on an island near Norway while the Nautilus is swept into the Maelstrom. The fate of Captain Nemo and the Nautilus is unknown,


Although there are many characters in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the novel only follows the adventures of four of them. These four main protagonists are:

  • Professor Pierre Aronnax (Narrator)
  • Ned Land (Harpooner from the ship Abraham Lincoln)
  • Conseil (servant to Aronnax)
  • Captain Nemo (Owner and captain of the submarine Nautilus)

The story is narrated by Aronnax which means the reader will only get to know the Professors point of view of the issues that are raised in the novel.


Throughout the novel Jules Verne deals with no less than 9 themes that can be studied in detail. These themes include:

  • Hatred
  • Revenge
  • Sense of identity
  • Exile
  • Justice
  • Freedom and Confinement
  • Exploration
  • Natural science
  • Technology and Modernization

All of these themes are things that people of all cultures can understand and identify with allowing the novel to be translated into many different languages.


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a novel that deals with complicated themes and ideas that are recognised by all cultures. This makes the novel an ideal one for modern readers as well as readers of the time it was published.

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