Study Guide

And Then There Were None Respect and Reputation

By Agatha Christie

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Respect and Reputation

He had even complimented her on her presence of mind and courage, she remembered. For an inquest it couldn’t have gone better. (1.16)

Vera has a great reputation as a governess: she’s scrappy, smart, capable, and resourceful. The only thing is that she sometimes lets little boys drown on purpose. But no big deal! She’s a great governess.

Lucky for me there’s loyalty in our profession. (4.101)

Dr. Armstrong still has an a-okay reputation as a doctor, even though you wouldn’t want to go under the knife with him. He’s only killed one person while drunk, after all. Total fluke.

He’d avoided people after that—withdrawn into himself. Unpleasant to feel that people were discussing you. (5.116)

Macarthur may have escaped any real punishment over sending Leslie’s lover to his death, but it’s ruined his reputation (or made him paranoid about it) amongst his old army friends. Man, we hate when a little murder gets in the way of a beautiful friendship.

“It was a great shock to me. Her parents were decent folk, too, who had brought her up very strictly. I’m glad to say they did not condone her behavior.” (7.54)

Not sure why parental upbringing matters so much to Miss Brent, but she seems to care a whole lot about how Beatrice was brought up and still constantly refers to how she, Miss Brent, was brought up. Wonder why she never had any children of her own, hm?

“Naturally I did not keep her an hour under my roof. No one shall ever say that I condoned immorality.” (7.57)

Instead of acting compassionately (isn’t that what good Christians are supposed to do?), Miss Brent throws poor Beatrice out because she doesn’t want anyone to think that she’s compromised her morals. Huh. Not sure how well that worked out.

There was no doubt now who was in charge of the situation. This morning Wargrave had sat huddled in his chair on the terrace refraining from any overt activity. Now he assumed command with ease born of a long habit of authority. He definitely presided over the court. (9.155)

Because he’s a judge, everyone naturally listens to Wargrave. It’s probably not a good idea in the end, since Wargrave is using his position to lead the characters in different directions. Let that be a lesson about trusting authority figures, Shmoopers. (KIDDING.) (Mostly.)

Dr. Armstrong said quickly:

“I, am a well-known professional man. The mere idea that I can be suspected of—” (9.205)

Instead of offering up a real reason or alibi for his innocence, Armstrong just says that he’s a doctor. Very convincing, Armstrong, especially since multiple people have died of poisoning. We’re pretty sure that Bernie Madoff tried to use the same excuse.

They led upright lives as she, Emily Brent, had led an upright life… She had never done anything to be ashamed of… And so, naturally, she wasn’t going to die… (11.160)

Miss Brent is convinced that her position in life and the fact that she has a spotless reputation will exempt her from punishment. After all, murderers always consider people’s reputations when choosing their victims. Everyone knows that.

I have a reputation of a hanging judge, but that is unfair. I have always been strictly just and scrupulous in my summing up of a case. (E.134)

Strictly just and scrupulous in deciding who to send to be hanged? This sentence actually brings up an important point: is killing people not murder if it’s done legally?

He was a gullible sort of man, he knew me by sight and reputation and it was inconceivable to him that a man of my standing should actually be a murderer! (E.168)

If Armstrong weren’t so hung up on reputation, maybe he would have lived a bit longer—or prevented a few more people from dying. As it is, though, he makes his fatal mistake when he trusts Wargrave and agrees to help him fake his death.

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