Study Guide

And Then There Were None Justice and Judgment

By Agatha Christie

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Justice and Judgment

Subsiding on to his seat Mr. Blore thought to himself: He’s nearer the day of judgment than I am!

But there, as it happens, he was wrong… (1.113-114)

Wrong, wrong, wrong, Blore. The day of judgment is definitely visiting all the characters very soon, with Justice Wargrave playing the role of God Almighty.

“Thomas Rogers and Ethel Rogers, that on the 6th of May, 1929, you brought about the death of Jennifer Brady.” (3.62)

The loud booming voice in the room sounds like the voice of God delivering judgment, especially if, like us, you imagine it in the voice of Morgan Freeman.

“Prisoners at the bar, have you anything to say in your defence?” (3.64)

Okay, this really should have been a dead (sorrynotsorry) giveaway that the perpetrator was Wargrave. Even in the gramophone record, he can’t help but sneak some legal language in there. Maybe these people don’t deserve to live after all.

“It was that voice—that awful voice—like a judgment.” (3.123)

Poor Mrs. Rogers faints when she hears the voice. Wait until things really start getting serious, Mrs. Rogers. You’re going to be asleep for a long, long time.

“He knows, you see, a good deal. And out of his knowledge concerning us, he has made certain definite accusations.” (4.6)

Let’s just be clear here: by “he,” Justice Wargrave means “I.” And by “accusations,” he means “judgments and sentences.”

“Fits too damned well to be a coincidence! Anthony Marston dies of asphyxiation or choking last night after dinner, and Mother Rogers oversleeps herself with a vengeance.” (7.153) 

Lombard figures it out pretty quickly, clever guy. There’s obviously someone lurking around and delivering justice to all of the characters, and he’s going to weasel that person out! Too bad his cleverness ends there.

Self-righteous smug old hypocrite. Sitting up in court feeling like God Almighty. He’d got his all right… No more being careful for him. (14.100)

The other characters may listen to Justice Wargrave because he’s all judicial and authoritative, but that doesn’t mean they like him. In fact, when he “dies,” they’re relieved to be free of all his judgment.

“I read this story once—about two judges that came to a small American town—from the Supreme Court. They administered justice—Absolute Justice. Because—they didn’t come from this world at all…” (15.170)

After a few deaths, people start coming up with some really wacky ideas. Here, Vera almost seems to be suggesting that they’re getting their just deserts from someone who’s not even there, like a heavenly visitor or the forces of the universe. Or aliens.

The order of death upon the island had been subjected by me to special thought and care. There were, I considered, amongst my guests, varying degrees of guilt. Those whose guilt was the lightest should, I decided, pass out first, and not suffer the prolonged mental strain and fear that the more cold-blooded offenders were to suffer. (E.162)

For Wargrave, justice isn’t just about killing off his victims. Justice is making sure that the people who did really bad things (like Vera and Lombard) suffer the most and have to live to see everyone else die. Because justice!

It is abhorrent to me that an innocent person or creature should suffer or die by any act of mine. I have always felt strongly that right should prevail. (E.130)

Even though he’s a sadistic guy, Wargrave can’t bring himself to murder innocent people. Yeah, that’s what all the serial killers say.

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