Study Guide

And Then There Were None Mortality

By Agatha Christie

Mortality

The sea… So peaceful today—sometimes so cruel… The sea that dragged you down to its depths. Drowned… Found drowned… Drowned at sea… Drowned—drowned—drowned… (2.184)

Here’s a piece of history for all you Millennials: back before everyone had iThings, we used to listen to music on CDs. (Before that, we had these wacky discs called records, but that’s practically the dark ages.) Anyway, the point is, sometimes CDs would get scratched and play the same few lyrics or notes over and over again. For Vera, life is like being trapped in that scratch: death and drowning play over and over and over again in her head. No wonder she wants a way out.

Dead? Dead? That young Norse God in the prime of his health and strength. Struck down all in a moment. Healthy young men didn’t die like that, choking over a whisky and soda… (5.6)

Guess Mr. Marston’s not so immortal after all. It’s certainly shocking to the other guests when he’s the first to die, since he’s no old geezer like General Macarthur. (All this talk of Norse Gods makes us picture someone like this. Truly, a tragic death.)

She didn’t want to die.

She couldn’t imagine wanting to die…

Death was for—for other people… (5.170-172)

For someone who doesn’t want to die, Vera sure does talk about it a lot. Just sayin’.

“None of us are going to leave this island. That’s the plan. You know it, of course, perfectly. What, perhaps, you can’t understand is the relief!” (8.112)

General Macarthur meets death like a boss. He’s not afraid of Wargrave’s scheme; in fact, he waits for it on that rock patiently and is treats it like a reward.

“She’d only do that if she knew that she had nothing to fear. That’s to say if she herself is the criminal.” (11.107)

Blore becomes convinced that Miss Brent is the killer because she’s not afraid of death, which is actually pretty sound reasoning. Actually, though, she’s not afraid because she thinks that she’s morally superior to everyone else. Wear that armor of God, Miss Brent!

Dying! It was as though a sharp little gimlet had run into the sold congealed mess of Emily Brent’s brain. Dying? But she wasn’t going to die! The others would die—yes—but not she, Emily Brent. (11.160)

On top of being morally righteous, Miss Brent is also clearly delusional. She believes that she’s so above everyone else that she can survive based off of her moral rectitude alone. Umm, not so much, Miss Brent.

Some people thought so little of death that they actually took their own lives. (11.161)

This little aside by Miss Brent gives us a coy little hint at Vera’s eventual demise. The irony is, though, that Vera kills herself because she thinks so much of death. Clever, clever.

And then they saw her face—suffused with blood, with blue lips and starting eyes.
Blore said:

“My God, she’s dead!” (12.85-87)

The one good thing about dying in And Then There Were None is that at least it proves you’re not the murderer. (Unless, of course, you’re faking your own death—but you’ll have to head on over to our “Lies and Deceit” theme for the story on that.) Miss Brent conveniently dies just as everyone was getting suspicious of her religious mania.

And they will find ten dead bodies and an unsolved problem on Soldier Island. (E.202)

The dead don’t talk—unless they’re Justice Wargrave and plan everything so well that they manage to announce their evil genius from beyond the grave. Thanks for clearing up that big mystery, dude.