Talented Mr Ripley

Topics: The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith, Tom Ripley Pages: 2 (786 words) Published: August 19, 2010
Tom Ripley is an amoral, slightly disreputable young man, with no prospects, who occasionally moves in wealthy circles. Tom is approached by affluent shipyard owner Herbert Greenleaf, the father of an acquaintance who has lived in Italy for two years. Mr. Greenleaf wants Tom to travel to Europe and convince his son Dickie to return to the U.S. Ripley is armed with a first class ticket and enough cash for two months in Europe. Tom has fantasies of adopting the luxurious lifestyle of the Greenleafs. In Italy, Tom is attracted to Dickie and jealous of his close female friend, Marge Sherwood. Marge alienates Tom further by suggesting to Dickie that Tom is homosexual, an unthinkable sin in the 1950s. Dickie becomes cold, and it is obvious that unless he comes up with a plan, Tom's days living in luxury are numbered. Tom develops a plot to kill Dickie and assume his identity, forging Dickie's signature to checks and other financial documents. The elaborate measures Tom must take to maintain both identities never degenerate into predictable farce in Highsmith's novel. When the police suspect Dickie of committing Tom's murder, Tom stages Dickie's "death," naming Tom Ripley sole heir in the will. Highsmith's novel is a vibrant exploration of 1950s Europe, fraught with latent homosexuality, class and identity issues, and a through exploration of the character of one amoral young man. Dickie Greenleaf is initially cold to Tom Ripley when they meet in Italy. Greenleaf does not recall their New York meeting, and is perfectly happy with the routing of his life in Mongibello, a small village south of Naples. Finally, Tom admits that Dickie's father, Mr. Greenleaf, has sent him to Italy to convince Dickie to come home. Charmed by Tom's candor, Dickie invites Tom to stay in his villa, and the two soon become close. After Tom and Dickie spend a drunken night together in a park in Rome, Dickie's girlfriend, Marge Sherwood, becomes jealous. Marge and Dickie have an argument, and...
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