12 Years a Slave

Theophilus Freeman Character Analysis

Theophilus Freeman is the cruel slave dealer in New Orleans who takes over Solomon, Eliza, and her children (among others) from his business partner, James Burch. He is inhumane and deeply insensitive, refusing to allow Eliza and her daughter, Emily, to stay together even though William Ford offers to buy them both. Freeman is wicked and greedy and knows he can make a higher profit on Emily when she’s older.

Theophilus Freeman Quotes in 12 Years a Slave

The 12 Years a Slave quotes below are all either spoken by Theophilus Freeman or refer to Theophilus Freeman. 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:
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Graymalkin Media edition of 12 Years a Slave published in 2014.
Chapter 5 Quotes

My cup of sorrow was full to overflowing. Then I lifted up my hands to God, and in the still watches of the night […] begged for mercy on the poor, forsaken captive. To the Almighty Father of us all—the freeman and the slave—I poured forth the supplications of a broken spirit, imploring strength from on high to bear up against the burden of my troubles […].

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), Theophilus Freeman
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 6 Quotes

He would make us hold up our heads, walk briskly back and forth, while customers would feel of our hands and arms and bodies, turn us about, ask us what we could do, make us open our mouths and show our teeth, precisely as a jockey examines a horse which he is about to barter for or purchase.

Related Characters: Solomon Northup (speaker), Theophilus Freeman
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
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Theophilus Freeman Character Timeline in 12 Years a Slave

The timeline below shows where the character Theophilus Freeman appears in 12 Years a Slave. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Later, other slave traders, including one named Theophilus Freeman, board the ship. Freeman takes over Burch’s slaves, including Solomon, Eliza, a slave named Harry,... (full context)
Chapter 6
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
The next morning, “The very amiable, pious-hearted” Freeman prepares his “animals” to be sold. After all of the slaves bathe, the men are... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
The following day, potential buyers arrive to examine Freeman’s “new lot.” The customers feel the slaves’ limbs, ask them about their abilities, and make... (full context)
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...to the hospital, where they remain for two weeks. When they are eventually returned to Freeman’s slave pen, they are examined by a potential buyer named William Ford. He asks many... (full context)
Chapter 22
Racism and Slavery Theme Icon
Truth and Justice Theme Icon
...deck. When the pair arrive in New Orleans, Solomon points out several notable places, including Freeman’s slave pen. The men run into Freeman himself, but Solomon avoids “renew[ing] acquaintance with him.”... (full context)