The Emperor Jones

by

Eugene O’Neill

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Lem is the chief of the natives on the island in the West Indies. He's an older man and very wise—he is spare with his words and says, simply and confidently, that he and the other natives will catch Jones. Finally, he explains to Smithers that he and the natives spent the night melting silver coins to cast silver bullets to kill Jones, a canny plan that is ultimately successful.

Lem Quotes in The Emperor Jones

The The Emperor Jones quotes below are all either spoken by Lem or refer to Lem. 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 Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Emperor Jones published in 2011.
Scene 5 Quotes

Lawd, I done wrong! And down heah war dese fool bush niggers raises me up to the seat o' de mighty, I steals all I could grab. Lawd, I done wrong! I knows it! I'se sorry! Forgive me, Lawd! Forgive dis po' sinner!

Related Characters: Brutus Jones (speaker), Lem, Jeff, The Prison Guard
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene 8 Quotes

Well, they did for yer right enough, Jonsey, me lad! Dead as a 'erring! Where's yer 'igh an' mighty airs now, yer bloomin' Majesty? Silver bullets! Gawd blimey, but yer died in the 'eighth o' style, any'ow!

Related Characters: Smithers (speaker), Brutus Jones, Lem
Related Symbols: The Silver Bullet
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Emperor Jones LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Emperor Jones PDF

Lem Character Timeline in The Emperor Jones

The timeline below shows where the character Lem appears in The Emperor Jones. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 1
Godliness, Humanity, and Fear Theme Icon
...and agrees, but explains that he made that luck by cheating: when the native that Lem hired misfired from only ten feet away, Jones just shot him. He asks Smithers to... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Power and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Godliness, Humanity, and Fear Theme Icon
Smithers cautions Jones and says that Lem, the native chief, is certainly behind the revolt. He says that Lem hates Jones so... (full context)
Scene 8
Racism Theme Icon
...the edge of the forest, the tom-tom seems so loud that the forest nearly vibrates. Lem, the native chief, approaches the trees from the clearing, accompanied by several of his soldiers... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Power and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Lem only says, in an unconcerned tone, that they'll catch Jones. He motions to his soldiers... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
...sound of snapping twigs, and the soldiers jump to their feet and cock their rifles. Lem doesn't move from his stance. As they hear more snapping twigs, Lem signals for his... (full context)
Godliness, Humanity, and Fear Theme Icon
...very well be Jones, as the forest could've turned Jones in a circle easily. Suddenly, Lem shushes Smithers, and the sound of rifles firing comes from within the forest. Lem's soldiers... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Power and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Godliness, Humanity, and Fear Theme Icon
Snarling, Smithers asks how Lem knows that Jones is dead. Lem explains that his men have silver bullets, and when... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
History and Collective Memory Theme Icon
Power and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Godliness, Humanity, and Fear Theme Icon
Lem ignores this and tells Smithers that his soldiers are bringing out Jones's body now. Sure... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
History and Collective Memory Theme Icon
Power and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Godliness, Humanity, and Fear Theme Icon
...Smithers smiles and remarks that Jones did die in style, with silver bullets and all. Lem motions for the soldiers to carry Jones away, and Smithers turns to Lem. He asks... (full context)