Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Simon Legree Character Analysis

A cruel master, hateful of religion, superstitious, and determined to “break” Tom, Simon Legree is the novel’s antagonist. His plantation near the Red River is characterized by its state of physical and moral disrepair. Legree encourages his slaves and overseers, Sambo and Quimbo, to be cruel to one another in order to maintain total control over the lives of those on his estate. Legree beats Tom to death and cannot be tried for his crime, because there were no white witnesses to the act, and, according to law, he has only destroyed his property. Nevertheless George Shelby, Jr., curses Legree.

Simon Legree Quotes in Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Uncle Tom's Cabin quotes below are all either spoken by Simon Legree or refer to Simon Legree. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Bantam Books edition of Uncle Tom's Cabin published in 1981.
Chapter 33: Cassy Quotes

Mas’r, if you mean to kill me, kill me; but, as to my raising my hand agin any one here, I never shall,—I’ll die first!”

Related Characters: Uncle Tom (speaker), Simon Legree
Related Symbols: The Bible
Page Number: 406
Explanation and Analysis:

One of the most important scenes in the novel. This is a moment in which Tom most fully demonstrates his commitment to Christian teachings. It is also the moment when he is most Christ-like - refusing to protect himself in order to protect another person. Tom does not have a violent bone in his body, and it is inconceivable for him to harm another person in order to save his own skin. He cannot do it.

This moment is so affecting because here Tom's commitment to the health and wellbeing of another person is believable - it is an enormous moral burden for him to bear, but it does seem at least plausible that someone in his situation might respond in this way. One need not be a saint to do this - one need only be a committed, emotionally strong, and generous human being. Thus Tom (and Stowe) achieves maximum pathos, or fellow-feeling, in this section. 

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Uncle Tom's Cabin quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 40: The Martyr Quotes

O, Mas’r! don’t bring this great sin on your soul. It will hurt you more than ‘twill me! Do the worst you can, my troubles’ll be over soon; but, if ye don’t repent, yours won’t never end!

Related Characters: Uncle Tom (speaker), Simon Legree
Page Number: 469
Explanation and Analysis:

This scene further demonstrates Tom's goodness. Even as he is being beaten to death for refusing to tell anything about Emmeline and Cassy, Tom refuses to consider his own plight. Instead, he argues that Legree's beating of Tom will only result in further damnation for Legree. If Legree wishes to protect himself in the afterlife, he will stop what he's doing and repent - even if Tom dies. 

That Tom might find any satisfaction at all in the idea that Legree's eternal soul is protected might be hard to believe, especially after the cruelty that Legree has visited upon Tom. But this belief in fellow-feeling even for those who have wronged us is central to Tom's identity. It is the thing that sets him apart from other slaves, and indeed from all the other characters in the novel, with the exception of Eva. It is the thing that makes Tom an example (if an unrealistic one) for all people to follow. 

Get the entire Uncle Tom's Cabin LitChart as a printable PDF.
Uncle tom s cabin.pdf.medium

Simon Legree Character Timeline in Uncle Tom's Cabin

The timeline below shows where the character Simon Legree appears in Uncle Tom's Cabin. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 30: The Slave Warehouse
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Tom is put up to auction and is sold to Simon Legree, a cruel plantation owner living by the Red River who does not believe that Tom... (full context)
Chapter 31: The Middle Passage
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Legree sizes up Emmeline, whom he finds attractive and warns to look happy, so that he... (full context)
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
The stranger argues to another gentleman that, if all slave-owners were as vile as Legree, the system would collapse under its own cruelty. Benevolent slave-owners are the ones who perpetuate... (full context)
Chapter 32: Dark Places
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Tom marches behind Legree’s wagon with the other recently-purchased slaves. When Legree demands they sing a song, the slaves... (full context)
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Legree’s plantation is in disrepair, with a ragged lawn and a dilapidated interior and exterior. He... (full context)
Chapter 33: Cassy
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Though Tom is tired and uncomfortable, he quickly adapts to his work on the plantation. Legree notices Tom’s abilities and resolves to “harden” him to make him suitable for overseeing other... (full context)
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...that it is Cassy, he goes away sheepishly. Sambo has seen Tom aiding Luce, and Legree resolves that the way he will “harden” Tom is by forcing him to whip her. (full context)
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...Luce, saying he will do any work himself but will not hurt another. In response, Legree beats and kicks him mercilessly, and announces that Tom’s soul belongs to him. At this... (full context)
Chapter 34: The Quadroon’s Story
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
...tends to Tom, moving him onto cool, wet sheets. Cassy tells Tom to stop resisting Legree, as it will only end in Tom’s destruction. He responds that he must try, otherwise... (full context)
Chapter 35: The Tokens
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
The chapter begins in Legree’s sitting room, where he is complaining of the complications introduced by Uncle Tom’s refusal to... (full context)
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Cassy reveals that she has come to see Legree to argue with him over Tom’s treatment. Legree feels he will eventually “break” Tom, but... (full context)
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Legree’s life story is briefly sketched. His father was a difficult, tyrannical man, and his religious... (full context)
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Legree is shaken by the coincidence of Eva’s and his mother’s hair-locks, thinking that the hair... (full context)
Chapter 36: Emmeline and Cassy
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Cassy enters to find a scared Emmeline, who thought Cassy might have been Legree. Emmeline asks Cassy if she has ever thought of or tried escape, and Emmeline vows... (full context)
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Legree consumes an impressive amount of alcohol in order to drown his superstitious fears. He has... (full context)
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Legree finds Tom and tells him to “beg pardon” for his impudence the previous day. Tom... (full context)
Chapter 38: The Victory
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Legree comes to him one night and asks if Tom’s religion does him any good now.... (full context)
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Legree discusses Tom’s more cheerful mood with Sambo, who suggests that Tom might wish to run... (full context)
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Cassy comes to Tom later and tells him that she has drugged Legree via his brandy—they can murder Legree with an axe and escape to freedom, perhaps even... (full context)
Chapter 39: The Stratagem
Women Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Cassy works out an escape plan. Legree’s house has a “garret,” or attic area, consisting of unused rooms and clutter. Once, Legree... (full context)
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...to be the most superstitious. Later, after turning over the garret’s haunting in his mind, Legree asks Cassy if she believes in spirits, and she answers, cunningly, that “it doesn’t matter”... (full context)
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Cassy takes a trip with Legree to another town near the Red River, memorizing routes she and Emmeline might travel. One... (full context)
Chapter 40: The Martyr
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Legree is incensed at Emmeline and Cassy’s disappearance, and he takes his anger out on Tom,... (full context)
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Legree tells Quimbo to beat Tom until he reveals any knowledge of Emmeline and Cassy’s escape.... (full context)
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Legree encourages Sambo and Quimbo to beat Tom mercilessly. They realize they are doing something “wicked”... (full context)
Chapter 41: The Young Master
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
George Shelby, Jr., arrives at the Legree plantation. His father has recently passed away, Mrs. Shelby is now manager of the estate,... (full context)
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
George curses Legree but Tom says he must not do so. Tom passes away, and George, Sambo, and... (full context)
Chapter 42: An Authentic Ghost Story
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
Legree is driven slowly crazy by the noises from the garret and begins drinking more heavily.... (full context)
Chapter 45: Concluding Remarks
Slavery and Race Theme Icon
Christianity and Christian Charity Theme Icon
Women Theme Icon
Home Theme Icon
Freedom Theme Icon
...composite of different tales, it is based heavily in fact. Eliza, Uncle Tom, Old Prue, Legree, and others all come from stories Beecher Stowe has heard from others. St. Clare, too,... (full context)