Throughout the novel, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, the author chose to display the pervasive theme of Culpability. Culpability defines the several degrees of responsibilities a person could be held accountable for a crime. Moreover, the story takes place on a perplexing Indian island at which an uncanny man, Mr. U.N. Owen bewitched a group involving ten people into following him into the island owing to the fact that each character that was summoned, played a part in some sort of murder while opposing the idea of culpability being applied to them. Besides, each victim begins to die in peculiar manners. Soon enough, the guests begin to notice they have been demanded to take part in trailing this mysterious man into the island to put an end to their lives by surprise. Additionally, readers begin to uncover that each character has niggling doubts about their measure of liability. For that reason, the readers come to presume that not one person on the island is as honorable as they claim to be. Further, the guests begin to notice a murderer is trapping them while Judge Wargrave continuously analyzes evidence as well as validates searches on both guests’ belongings and on the island itself, while also taking charge in prospective weapons and antidotes, assuring them that they’re safely secured. Thereupon, a religious fundamentalist, Miss Brent is accused of, murdering a younger adult by forcing her to commit suicide after being ordered out of her house. Therefore, Judge Wargrave is the most culpable whereas Miss Brent is the least culpable character in the novel, And Then There Were None.
First and Foremost, Judge Wargrave is the most responsible character in the novel due to his intentions of murdering all ten victims. Wargrave’s secret identity began to unfold towards the starting point of the novel beginning at the first meal on the Indian island when a strange voice echoed, “Without warning, inhuman, penetrating… Ladies and gentlemen! Silence, please!. You are charged with the following indictments.” (Christie, Chapter 3). The disclosure of these lists of crimes terminated suspicions as to the purpose of the guests’ being summoned to this island. Moreover, the use of grammar from the voice opens up a new window of possibilities as to who the murderer may be. For instance, the victims are charged with their crimes in a very professional, formal style that is commonly used in a courtroom, such as the grammar that Judge Wargrave was settled into using during his profession. Also, this event allows the readers to easily use important clues to connect actions as well as phrases to the characters themselves. Moreover, Judge Wargrave began to implicate and focus the attention on the other guests’ before his accusations stating “ Mr. Owen could only come to the island in one way. It is perfectly clear. Mr.Owen is one of us” (Christie, chapter 9 ). This phrase from Wargrave marked the second critical climax in the novel. Precedent to this moment, the guests suspected their host, Mr.Owen was plotting to murder them to then find out there was no one to be blamed but those within their party. Moreover, Judge Wargraves’s staged suspicions and acts of tricking the guests into believing he is innocent later results in readers discovering the judge was the killer of all ten guests all along. Therefore, Judge Wargrave holds the highest degree of responsibility for all ten characters of the novel.
Secondarily, a sixty-five-year-old woman, Emily Brent is the least culpable character in the novel due to her crime involving a young woman killing herself rather than Ms. Brent intentionally killing her. The death of Beatrice Taylor occurred due to Ms.Brent’s past decision to kick her out of her home once she discovered she had gotten impregnated by her husband. However, Emily Brent did not intentionally want Taylor dead whereas she does not believe she is culpable of a crime or should feel guilty about the death of Taylor. In addition, during the back and forth conversation between Brent and Vera, Vera questioned Brent saying, “What did you feel like when you knew she’d done that? Weren’t you sorry? Didn’t you blame yourself?”(Christie, Ch.7, Pg 67). Miss. Brent sincerely responded with, “I? I had nothing with which to reproach myself.”(Christie, Ch.7, pg 67). This conveys Emily’s belief that Beatrice Taylor’s suicidal death was not an incident she should’ve felt responsible for especially since she did not plan to have Taylor dead. Overall, Emily Brent is the least responsible character for the past deaths that have occurred resulting in the guests being charged with crimes and multiple degrees of responsibility for these incidents. Ms.Brent did not physically murder or force Beatrice to drown in the river after she had fired her for her teenage pregnancy. Therefore, Emily Brent is the least culpable character in contrast to the other nine guests or characters.
In brief, Judge Wargrave is the most culpable whereas Miss Brent is the least culpable character in the novel, And Then There Were None. Judge Wargrave chose to stage his reactions and thoughts as to who may have been the murderer. Further, into the reading, readers found out he was responsible for all ten deaths on the Indian Island, in comparison with the fact that Emily Brent did not deliberately drive Beatrice Taylor to take her own life. Moreover, Brent did not arrange to have Taylor murdered nor did she create a scheme to intentionally lie and hide her illegal actions. Therefore, the author chose to display the extensive theme of Culpability through the use of the guests’ crimes and comparison of their degrees of responsibility for these incidents which occurred in the novel.