Top 10 Quotes by 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

Solomon Northup: [Epps has just whipped Patsey within an inch of her life] Thou devil! Sooner or later, somewhere in the course of eternal justice thou shalt answer for this sin! Edwin Epps: No sin! There is no sin! A man does how he pleases with his property. At the moment, Platt, I am of great pleasure. You be goddamn careful I don't come to wantin' to lightenin' my mood no further

12 Years a Slave
Radburn: [brings food in to Solomon; a shriveled piece of meat and some water. Just barely enough to sustain Solomon. Radburn also has a shirt] That old thing of yours is just rags and tatters. Need something proper to wear. Go'won. Put it on. [Solomon reluctantly does so] Radburn: There. Tha's fine. Tha's fine. Got no gratitude? Solomon Northup: ...Thank you. Radburn: Yah keep bein' proper, yah'll see how things work out. [takes Solomon's old shirt] Solomon Northup: No! It was from my wife. Radburn: Rags and tatters. Rags and t
12 Years a Slave

Edwin Epps: [Having awakened Solomon in the middle of the night, Epps coaxes him outside, puts his arm around him as if consoling a friend, and guides him into the woods] Well, boy. I understand I've got a larned nigger that writes letters and tries to get white fellows to mail 'em. Well, Armsby tol' me today the devil was among my niggers. That I had one that needed close watchin' or he would run away. When I axed him why, he said you come over to him and waked him up in the middle of the night and wanted him to carry a letter to Marksville. What have yah got to say to that? Solomon Northup: There is no truth in it. Edwin Epps: You say. Solomon Northup: How could I write a letter without ink or paper? There is nobody I want to write to 'cause I hain't got no friends living as I know of. That Armsby is a lying drunken fellow. You know this, just as you know that I am constant in truth. Now, master, I can see what that Armsby is after, plain enough. Didn't he want you to hire him for an overseer? That's it. He wants to make you believe we're all going to run away and then he thinks you'll hire an overseer to watch us. He believes you are soft soap. He's given to such talk. I believe he's just made this story out of whole cloth, 'cause he wants to get a situation. It's all a lie, master, you may depend on't. It's all a lie. Edwin Epps: [reveals a pocket knife he'd had pressed against Solomon's gut the entire time] I'll be damned... Were he not free and white, Platt. Were he not free and wh

12 Years a Slave
Solomon Northup: [Solomon awakens Armsby in the middle of the night. He offers him a handful of coins] The proceeds of my fiddling performances. A few picayunes, but all I have in the world. I promise them to you if you will do me the favor I require. But I beg you not to expose me if you cannot grant the request. Armsby: What do you ask? Solomon Northup: First, your word, sir. Armsby: On my honor. Solomon Northup: It is a simple enough request. I ask only that you deposit a letter in the Marksville post office. And that you keep the action an inviolable secret forever. The details of the letter are of no consequence. Even at that, there would be an imposition of much pain and suffering were it known I was the author. A patron is what I require, sir. Armsby: Where is the letter now? Solomon Northup: It is not yet written. I will have it in a day. Two at most, my skill with composition as poor as it is. Armsby: I will do it. And will accept whatever payment is o
12 Years a Slave

Edwin Epps: "And that servant which knew his Lord's will... which knew his Lord's will and prepared not himself... prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes..." D'ye hear that? "Stripes." That nigger that don't take care, that don't obey his lord - that's his master - d'ye see? - that 'ere nigger shall be beaten with many stripes. Now, "many" signifies a great many. Forty, a hundred, a hundred and fifty lashes... That's Scripter!

12 Years a Slave
Edwin Epps: [bursting into the slaves' quarters in the middle of the night] Get up! Get up, we dance tonight! We will not waste the evenin' with yer laziness. Get up.
12 Years a Slave

Burch: Well, my boy, how yah feel now? Solomon Northup: I am Solomon Northup. I am a free man; a resident of Saratoga, New York. The residence also of my wife and children who are equally free. I have papers. You have no right whatsoever to detain me... Burch: Yah not any... Solomon Northup: And I promise you - I promise - upon my liberation I will have satisfaction for this wrong. Burch: Resolve this. Produce your papers. [Solomon searches and finds no papers] Burch: Yah no free man. And yah ain't from Saratoga. Yah from Georgia. Yah ain't a free man. Yah nuthin' but a Georgia runaway. Yah a runaway nigger from Ge

12 Years a Slave
Hamilton: I'm afraid that Brown and I haven't brought you much luck. But rough waters bring smooth sailing. Eventually they do. Solomon Northup: So... so sorry... Hamilton: Shhh. We won't hear it. We won't. Brown: Let him sleep. Hamilton: Hmm. A good night's sleep. And tomorrow... tomorrow you will feel as well and refreshed as though the earth were new again. Brown: Hamilton! Nothing more we can do for him. Hamilton: Such is the
12 Years a Slave

Chapin: [Tibeats and a gang are trying to lynch Solomon] Gentlemen... Whoever moves that nigger another foot from where he stands is a dead man. I am overseer of this plantation seven years, and in the absence of William Ford, my duty is to protect his interests. Ford holds a mortgage on Platt of four hundred dollars. If you hang him, he loses his debt. Until that is canceled you have no claim to his life. [to Ramsay and Cook] Chapin: As for you two, if you have any regard for your own safety... I say, begon

12 Years a Slave
Robert: I say we fight. Solomon Northup: The crew is fairly small. If it were well planned, I believe they could be strong armed. Clemens: Three can't stand against a whole crew. The rest here are niggers, born and bred slaves. Niggers ain't got the stomach for a fight, not a damn one. Robert: All I know, we get where we travelling we'll wish we'd died trying. Clemens: Survival is not about certain death, it is about keeping your head down. Solomon Northup: Days ago I was with my family, in my home. Now you tell me all is lost. "Tell no one who I really am" if I want to survive. I don't want to survive, I want to