Around the World in Eighty Days
Romeo and Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet. Harry Potter and Voldemort from the Harry Potter series. George and Lennie from Of Mice and Men. These ‘sets’ of characters seem random enough, but they all have one thing in common. They are the foil of one another; two ends of the earth, but also the same. There are many potential pairs of ‘foil’ characters, but the one that I find the most evident is Fogg and Passepartout.
Quiet, wealthy, and solitary. These are the very words to describe Mr.
Phileas Fogg. Tall, handsome, and phlegmatic, Fogg “seemed a perfect type of that English composure which Angelina Kauffmann has so skilfully represented on canvas.”(5) His personality is of one who is always exact, counting each and every day, hour, minute, and second. I find Fogg as a sad soul because he lacks something most people express – emotion. Because of this lack of emotion, Fogg is compared to wax figures and machines by his servant.
Other than his eccentric personality, he is also very, very rich. As part of the Reform, it is necessary to be a rich gentleman. Interestingly, Fogg is stubborn at times.
When you think of a Frenchman, you probably think of a moustached guy in a beret holding a baguette. That is not the case with Passepartout. His name, Passepartout, a surname that has clung to him because he has “a natural aptness for going out of one business or another.”(3) In fact, Passepartout was a singer, gymnast, acrobat, and a fireman at some point in his life. Throughout the book, you are shown Passepartout’s undying loyalty for his master, for instance, when he stood up for Fogg when Fogg was accused of robbing a bank. “What nonsense! My master is the most honourable of men!”(83) Passepartout exclaims to Fix. What loyalty! Passepartout has an interesting personality. He always feels guilty and anxious when something happens due to him, causing him to guilt-trip himself. Passepartout is a dramatic character. He often acts dramatically, including the time he forgot to turn off the gas. Easily tricked and naive, Passepartout ended up in the hands of an evil detective who drugs him. Passepartout is sadly stubborn, refusing many things that would bring him a better fortune.
Silent and Byronic compared to sociable and naive. These two characters are so different yet very much alike. In a situation, Fogg would mostly stick to his plan if he is on a strict time rush. Passepartout, on the other hand, would try to solve the problem or try to help. An exception is when Fogg has spare time. He may help out, for example, saving Aouda. Mr. Fogg acted very boldly at the time, turned to Sir Francis Cromarty and said, “Suppose we save this woman.”(50) Fogg sometimes does things that are completely unexpected, such as the time Passepartout was arrested. To Fix’s surprise, Fogg paid bail. Whether this was an act of kindness or just the will to not lose 20,000 pounds, we may never know. Passepartout and Fogg show each other’s unique traits. What a terrific pair they make!
The enduring loyalty of Passepartout and the calmness of Fogg, as well as their cooperation skills, help the two make way through their story in one piece. They are as different as they are similar, which is the beautiful thing about their friendship. As inseparable as Geroge and Lennie.
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