Every good novel is replete with memorable quotes. These quotes are also commonly how the author drops subtle hints about some significant moments in the story. In this regard, ‘And Then There Were None‘ by Agatha Christie lives up to its acclaim as a great novel.
Judgment and Guilt
The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hand. The wicked shall be turned into hell.Emily Brent’s prayer (Chapter 2, part XIII)
Emily Brent reads the above quote from her bible as she settles in on the island. The quote is a passage from the Christian Bible, precisely Psalm 9 verses 15-17. While this quote foreshadows the events that follow later in the story, it also serves as a pointer to the character Emily Brent’s sadistic religious extremism.
Emily, in her self-righteous indignation, believes that everyone else is a sinner who deserves some divine retribution and makes it a point of duty to invoke the said retribution much faster.
There was a silence—a comfortable replete silence. Into that silence came The Voice. Without warning, inhuman, penetrating . . . “Ladies and gentlemen! Silence, please! . . . You are charged with the following indictments… Prisoners at the bar, have you anything to say in your defence?Chapter 3, part II
This quote is from the announcement which is made by the voice recording shortly after the guests arrive on Indian Island. They had just finished eating and were in a broadly relaxed mood. But the narrator before this had already set the mood for the voice message by hinting at the secret guilt eating away the innards of the guests’ consciences.
Now with this voice recording making this proclamation, the details of how this secret guilt had come about are brought into the open. Also, there is a possible hint at the identity of the brain behind all the killings and deaths that the reader is about to witness in the very diction of the statement: ‘You are charged with the following indictments.’ This sounds much like the official diction of court proceedings and thereby could be linked to Wargrave who is the only lawyer among the lot.
You regard it as impossible that a sinner should be struck down by the wrath of God! I do not!Chapter 6, part II
This statement was made by Emily Brent in defense of her conviction that the death of Mrs. Rogers was a supernatural punishment for Mrs. Rogers’s past sins. When she first attributed Mrs. Roger’s death to some divine orchestration by God, Mr. Blore had commented that that theory was a bit far-fetched and unrealistic but Emily in her religious fanaticism would have none of that and boldly maintained her conviction.
My dear lady, in my experience of ill-doing, Providence leaves the work of conviction and chastisement to us mortals—and the process is often fraught with difficulties. There are no short cuts.Justice Wargrave to Emily Brent (Chapter 6, part II)
This quote was made in response to Emily’s assertion that God literally strikes people dead for their evil deeds. Wargrave was telling Emily that the supernatural hardly plays a role in crime and punishment and that humans are the ones left to chastise other humans for offenses.
He also alludes to the judicial process of punishing criminals according to the dictates of the law and points out that even the law and the judicial process sometimes have inadequacies that limit their ability to discharge justice efficiently.
He was out to get people who were beyond the reach of the law. He picked ten people, whether they were really guilty or not doesn’t matterInspector Maine
Inspector Maine was reporting the progress of the investigation to the commissioner. At the point of stating this, the mystery of the deaths on the island was still unsolved but the inspector was making out a pattern that connected all the victims and understood that the murderer must be some fanatic about a justice who was taking the law into his hands and killing people who were accused of a crime but not convicted by the law. And in this fanaticism, an accusation was enough reason to mete out punishment. In the fanatic’s books, being guilty or innocent of the accusation was irrelevant.
To see a wretched criminal squirming in the dock, suffering the tortures of the damned… was to me an exquisite pleasure. Mind you, I took no pleasure in seeing an innocent man thereWargrave’s Confession
This is from the killer’s confession about what inspired him to plot the killings. It is consistent with Inspector Maine’s description of the killer as ‘ some fanatic with a bee in his bonnet about justice’. It states an unusually extreme pleasure the killer feels when he sees offenders being punished.
There were, I considered, amongst my guests, varying degrees of guilt. Those whose guilt was the lightest should, I considered, pass out first, and not suffer the prolonged mental strain and fear that the more cold-blooded offenders were to sufferThe Killer’s Confession
In this quote, the killer seeing himself as an agent of justice, was scrupulous in every detail down to the order and manner of the killings in accordance with the degree of guilt he found in the offenders. The hardened offenders’ punishment was to be prolonged to make them go through some mental torture before they face the finality of death.
Mr. Owen could only come to the island in one way. It is perfectly clear. Mr Owen is one of us.
This quote is from Judge Wargrave, and it is a comment on the character of Mr. Owen, whom up to this point, all the guests had assumed to be the one who extended them an invitation to come to the island and, as such their host. When the deaths begin, they begin to think that Owen is probably a murderous psychopath who is hiding somewhere on the island, biding his time to take down his next victim. But after the men had done a thorough search of the island without finding anyone, Wargrave concludes that the only other logical thing would be that this so-called Owen is already in their midst but disguised as one of them.
From this point on, this tension builds up, and the characters become progressively suspicious of one another. There is also a hint of irony in the fact that Wargrave is this disguised Mr. Owen, except that at this point in the story, the reader does not know this any more than the characters themselves.
Do they keep bees on this island? . . . It’s sane enough what I’m asking. Bees, hives, bees! . . . Six little Indian boys playing with a hive.
This one is a quotation from Vera. She utters it in a feat of hysteria shortly after Rogers is found dead outside the house. She is keenly mindful of the fact that the deaths have so far been consistently following the model in the rhyme ‘Ten Little Indians’ hanging in each of their separate bedrooms.
So her panicked inquiry as to whether there are any bee hives on the island was a reflection of her awareness that the subsequent verse, after the one matching the most recent death, read: ‘Six little Indian boys playing with a hive; / A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.’ So in effect, she senses that the next death is quite likely to involve a bee in some way, and is giving an emotional exclamatory utterance to this intuition.
Dr. Armstrong . . . raised the wig. It fell to the floor, revealing the high bald forehead with, in the very middle, a round stained mark from which something had trickled . . . Dr. Armstrong . . . said—and his voice was expressionless, dead, far away: “He’s been shot.”
This quotation is from the bit of narrative where Wargrave’s supposedly dead body is discovered. Incidentally, it is only Dr. Armstrong who gets close to the body and declares him dead from a shot in the head. What had happened was that the judge and the doctor had worked together to pull that decoy off. The doctor was, of course, acting in good faith, not realizing the sinister intentions of his collaborator, the judge, and that the latter was the killer they were all seeking to unmask in their midst. This faked death handed Wargrave his subsequent moves on a platter because since no one else knew he was still alive except the doctor, he was able to carry on with his murderous mission with much less possibility of being found out from this moment on.
Best of an island is once you get there you can’t go any farther … you’ve come to the end of things…. He knew, suddenly, that he didn’t want to leave the island.
General Macarthur had earlier been desperate to leave the island. But after making peace with himself for the guilt he has burdened him for over thirty years, he feels a certain peace with death, and with death lurking on the island, he resigns himself to it and waits by the sea for the finality of his death. Here, a connection is made between death and an island, and they are both final destinations beyond which there is nowhere else to go.
What is the last line in ‘And Then There Were None?’
In the nursery rhyme of the plot, the last line is “He went and hanged himself and then there were none”. However, the last line in the entire novel is “Lawrence Wargrave.” It is the name signed on the written confession found by Scotland Yard after the killings.
What is a quote about justice in ‘And Then There Were None?’
“Providence leaves the work of conviction and chastisement to us mortals.” This is an interesting quote about justice from the novel, and it was said by Lawrence Wargrave. He was explaining that justice is not a supernatural phenomenon but something entrusted to humans.
Who said the words “And Then There Were None” in the novel?
Vera Claythorne was the character that said those lines in the novel. She was witty enough to make a connection between the strange deaths on the island and a nursery rhyme she knew from childhood. When she was the only survivor on the island, she recited the last words of the poem ”and then there were none.”
What does Philip Lombard say about Justice Wargrave being the killer?
In a conversation between Philip Lombard and Vera Claythorne in Chapter 10 of the novel, Philip explains why he thinks Justice Wargrave is the killer on the island. Philip gives his reason in these words: “He [Justice Wargrave] gets to see himself as all-powerful, as holding the power of life and death- and it’s possible that his brain might snap and he might want to go one step further and be Executioner and Judge Extraordinary.”