If one's actions cannot be prosecuted under the normal proceedings of law, can one be considered innocent of any wrongdoings even though the actions in question are morally unjustified? In Agatha's Christie's And Then There Were None, the idea of justice is a major theme and is thoroughly explored through the context of the characters. Trapped on an island and distanced from society, the characters in the story are forced to come to terms with their past actions as they wait for their "death sentence". Justice Wargrave is the administrator of the law and the killings on Indian Island are merely prosecutions where the guilty are brought down in the name of the law and thus, enforcing justice.
The administration of justice is a common theme in many murder mysteries. An individual commits a crime, and it is only a matter of finding that individual and punishing them through the law. Agatha Christie, however, departs from this formulaic approach by introducing the characters to offenses which are not punishable through any normal means. Wargrave's overwhelming desire to instil justice, therefore, leads him to deviate from the norm and punish those who he deemed guilty through his sick and gruesome way. He presents himself as the fighter of injustice and entrusts himself with the role of punishing those who had escaped the consequences of the law. The traditional sense of justice, however, remains the same. Wargrave, in his conventional role as a judge, enforces justice by sentencing the guilty to prison or execution in the court room. Similarly, Indian Island serves as a court room for Wargrave, and the ten "Indians" are the defendants who are waiting for Wargrave's pronouncement of their death sentence.
It can also be argued that the murders of some of the characters are unjustified because their apparent "crimes" are petty and insignificant, thus the punishment inflicted on those characters were undeservingly received. For example, Anthony Marston had ended...
Bibliography: CHRISTIE, Agatha; "And Then There Were None"; May 1995; Berkley Pub Group; Reissue edition (May 1995); 208 pages.
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