Study Guide

Jaws The Mayor (Murray Hamilton)

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The Mayor (Murray Hamilton)

Mayor Vaughn is such an interesting character that we've decided to just post a transcript from an interview that Shmoop recorded with him the last time we were vacationing on Amity Island.

Shmoop: Larry. Larry, Larry, Larry… Buddy. You were so preoccupied with preserving Amity's summer resort town charm that you refused to acknowledge your shark problem until it had already killed four people and one dog. Poor Pippet. He was such a good dog. So young. So full of life. What do you have to say for yourself?

Vaughn: Yes, I deeply regret my decisions. I let the victims' families down. I let the whole Amity community down, and I'm truly sorry. Amity, as you know, means friend—

Shmoop: Don't you gimme that line, Larry!

Vaughn: Sorry.

Shmoop: Don't you dare!

Vaughn: I—I'm sorry. I just—

Shmoop: People died, Larry. Because of your actions, people died!

Vaughn: Look, what was I supposed to do, Shmoop? We depend for our very lives on the summer dollars that—

Shmoop: Your very lives? Your very lives, Larry? Are you kidding me? Are you—

Vaughn: Are you even an islander? Are you familiar with our problems? Listen, if people can't swim here they'll be more than happy—

Shmoop: You know what people depend on for their very life, Larry? Not getting eaten by sharks! People were eaten alive by this—

Vaughn: —to swim at Cape Cod, Long—


Vaughn: —Island, The Hamptons—


Vaughn: Shut up! You shut your mouth! We had never had that kind of trouble—


Vaughn: —in these waters, and I thought I was acting in the best interests of the town, and—


Vaughn: MY KIDS WERE ON THAT BEACH TOO! (sobbing sounds)

Shmoop: Hey, Larry…

Vaughn: (sobbing continues)

Shmoop: Larry, sorry man…

Vaughn: (big sniffle) It's just… What was I supposed to do? I was caught between a rock and a hard place. (sniffle) Or, between a shark and economic ruin. If I close the beaches, I lose my job, the townspeople lose their livelihood, and Amity as we know it becomes a thing of the past. And Chief Brody… I didn't even know the guy. It was his first summer, y'know. Anyway, I know I messed up. I just wish people would understand that I had my reasons. We all had our reasons. Whew, man. Feels good to get that off my chest.

Shmoop: Thanks, Larry. Thank you for sharing that. It must have been hard. You were under a lot of pressure. Competing interests and all that.

Vaughn: Yes. Thank you.

Shmoop: So let's talk about your anchor pattern coat.

Vaughn: Okay. Yes, well, they don't make them like that anymore…

The interview continues for some time, but we think you get the idea. What do you think? Do you buy the idea that Mayor Vaughn's a complicated character in a difficult situation? Or is he just a corporate weasel?

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