Literary Analysis: And Then There Were None By Agatha Christie

November 2, 2020 by Essay Writer

ATTWN Literary Analysis

Homosapiens are the most psychologically complex organisms on Earth. We have governments, languages, arts, music, and technology. Each person on the planet is so incredibly unique that it would be easier to find two identical snowflakes than finding two identical people. However, we do have some things in common, despite what most think. The 10 homicidal characters conjured up by the famous magician of an author, Agatha Christie, are invited to a seemingly-innocent millionaire’s island by the mysterious U. N. Owen in the award-winning novel, And Then There Were None. Each person is invited by different people for different reasons: an old army-buddy reunion, an undercover investigation, and a secretary position. Then, they’re all accused of heinous felonies by a recording and are assassinated one by one until there were none remaining alive. The characters from And Then There Were None represent humankind’s self-preservation, fear, and predictability.

Humans have a knack for blaming others to redirect accusations on themselves. If a student, for example, decided to cheat on a test, they’d probably get a good grade, but they’d be breaking a rule. So, they wouldn’t admit it because it benefits them. This is similar to how the 10 characters from And Then There Were None committed murders and got away with it. They wanted to protect their own well-being and avoid getting in jail. For example, on page 191, Detective William Blore and Philip Lombard are having a heated discussion about Blore’s crime. Blore is continuing to defend himself against Lombard’s accusatory animadversions until he starts challenging Lombard’s rationale for bringing a revolver. They continue to do so in order to preserve themselves. Earlier on, Lombard admits unmitigatedly that he killed twenty-one men that were part of an east-African tribe. He says, “Story’s quite true! I left ’em! Matter of self-preservation. We were lost in the bush. I and a couple of other fellows took what food there was and cleared out. Not quite the act of a pukka sahib, I’m afraid. But self-preservation’s a man’s first duty. (pg. 67)” Similar to Lombard’s arrogant actions, the other characters eventually stop caring about the others’ fates; they just worried about their own futures on the diabolical island they were trapped on. The victims all obstinately say that they did not or will not ever perform any kind of illegal activities, much less murder.

Fear is another drive for the things we people do. On page 265, Vera Claythorne and Philip Lombard are in a predicament. After the discovery of Detective Blore’s death, the list of suspects was down to one: each other! Vera finessed Lombard’s revolver, while he was distracted with his back turned to her, and shoots him dead out of fear that he would slay her. Overall, humans don’t want to die. Believe it or not, some people are even terrified of the prospect of dying! Who would’ve thought? So in order to shield themselves from dying a premature death, they do everything in their power, sometimes, to do so. This shows how similar fear and self-preservation really are.

Our species are so intellectual that we can also predict each other’s actions. Sometimes, it doesn’t even have to be people who are very close. At the end of the harrowing tale, the murderer, Justice Lawrence Wargrave, explains why he imprisoned 9 other people on an island, executed them one by one, and ended his own life (pgs. 285-300). He was incredibly adroit and was able to foresee how each person would act in a specific situation. He meticulously plotted his ” fantastical crime. (pg. 287)” down to a tee. Wargrave correctly forecasted that Dr. Edward Armstrong would gullibly ally himself with Wargrave and help fake Wargrave’s death and ” rattle the murderer (pg. 295). ” He also knew that the remaining survivors would trust Armstrong’s verdict: “He’s been shot. (pg. 223)” Of course they would assume that what Armstrong said was true because he was a doctor! But, in fact, he was lying. If a man dressed in a police officer’s uniform with a badge with a told you that you were under arrest, put handcuffs on you, and told you to get in his car, you would wouldn’t you? But what if he wasn’t a police officer, but a kidnapper that would steal you for ransom?

This book, however, stole the hearts of people around the globe with over 100 million copies sold, placing it as the sixth best-selling title. Although humans, collectively, are the smartest species on the planet, we still have strengths and weaknesses as everything has; we have powers and flaws such as selfishness, despair, and uniformity. But, in the end, that is what molds us into the remarkable species that we are.

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