And Then There Were None By Agatha Christie: a Character Of Philip Lombard
Philip Lombard is the human embodiment of selfishness. Not an evil disdain for human life, but a simple yearning for self-preservation above all else. Lombard often seems disconnected from his surroundings, as if he’s observing the events around and occasionally participating. Lombard often treats life a rollercoaster, a fun experience that fools you into a sense of danger, but are always in control of, almost always..
On pg. 47 of ATTWN, each character is presented with crimes they have commited in the past. “Philip Lombard, that upon a date February, 1932, you were guilty of the death of twenty-one men, members of an East African tribe. ” After the storm, each guest outright deny their involvement in the crimes or, like Justice Wargrave and Miss Brent, try to justify their crimes. Lombard however, treats the slaughter as a triviality, it was the best opportunity to ensure survival, so he took it. This reaction gives us a peek into Lombard’s psyche and way he’s always acts so blase in many of the sequences of ATTWN, because to Lombard, there’s always a way out.
“For the first time his (Lombard’s) voice was uneven, almost shrill. It was as though his nerves, seasoned by a long career of hazards and dangerous undertakings, had given out at last. ”(pg. 203) This is the first throughout the entire novel that we see Lombard lose his composure. At last, the pure insanity of the whole situation has whittled down Lombard’s nerves into paste. Lombard’s reaction opens the reader to the 2nd half of the book, where a real sense of urgency is now placed upon the remaining cast of the book, now that the most level-headed character has now been driven mad by the situation. This opens the theory that Lombard is conduit for the reader. At the very beginning of the book, Lombard is shown to be a thrillseeker in search of another adventure, much like the reader. However, as the book progresses Lombard is legitimately taken aback by the events of the novel, this could possibly be done to indicate the emotional state of the reader. As to how well the ATTWN actually manages to surprise the reader is up for debate, but regardless, Lombard’s emotional state progresses with the reader up until the very end of the novel.
When Dr. Armstrong’s body is discovered, Lombard’s blase attitude once again kicks in, a fatal mistake. Lombard naturally assumes that he now has the situation under control, there’s only two people left on the island, and he knows that he’s not the killer. His attitude towards Vera shifts condescendingly, he knows that he can now escape the situation, it’ll be just like his other adventures, roller coasters. “Vera said: “How was it worked–that trick with the marble bear?” He shrugged his shoulders. “A conjuring trick my dear–a very good one…”(pg. 262). Lombard does nothing to assure Vera that he’s not the killer, leading Vera to snatch his gun. But at least he got one last thrill before something happened that even he couldn’t predict.
In conclusion, Lombard’s life and eventual death was merely a conduit for the readers of ATTWN to gauge the events of the novel, how ironic that a man apparently so interesting turned out to be a simple plot device, we’ve seen Lombard’s archetype before and will again and again, maybe this is one of the missteps of ATTWN or maybe one of it’s inventions.
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Philip Lombard is the human embodiment of selfishness. Not an evil disdain for human life, but a simple yearning for self-preservation above all else. Lombard often seems disconnected from his […]