In Agatha Christie's ''And Then There Were None,'' Emily Brent represents the hypocritical religious fanatics that judge other people harshly while lacking empathy and compassion. In this lesson, we'll learn about Emily Brent.
Emily Brent Background
In Agatha Christie's novel And Then There Were None, the character of Emily Brent is a 65-year-old woman who's afflicted with such a degree of 'religious mania' that she's lost her sense of compassion. She doesn't smoke or drink and harshly judges those that fall short of her expectations. Let's find out more about Emily Brent from Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.
Emily's Invite to the Island
Emily goes to Indian Island because she's been invited on a free vacation from someone by the name of U.N.O. This person claims to have similar conservative values and to have met Emily on another vacation a few years back. Emily thinks she remembers meeting someone with the last name Oliver. It is not until she arrives on the island that she realizes that the person who invited her has the last name Owen. She doesn't know anyone by that name.
Most of the time, Miss Brent is content to sit in her room on the island, reading Bible verses about the price of sin. She finds that she has a few friends in common with General Macarthur, another person who has been invited to the island.
Emily's Harsh Personality
When the recording plays on the gramophone indicating that each of them has been accused of murder, Miss Brent remains unmoved. ''Emily Caroline Brent, that upon the 5th November, 1931, you were responsible for the death of Beatrice Taylor,'' says the voice.
Beatrice worked for Emily at one time. She seemed to come from a nice family and to have good manners, but when Emily finds out that Beatrice is pregnant, she fires her immediately. ''Naturally I did not keep her an hour under my roof. No one shall ever say that I condoned immorality.''
After her parents also turn her away, Beatrice kills herself by jumping into the river. Emily accepts no blame for the girl's death, blaming the girl's sin instead. Emily proves that she has lost sight of love and replaced it with self-righteousness. Emily never suffers legally for Beatrice's death as it was not a crime, but Emily's hardness clearly led to Beatrice's demise.
Emily's Guilt & Death
As the murders begin to happen, Emily feels herself losing touch with reality. At one point, she scrawls in her notebook, ''THE MURDERER'S NAME IS BEATRICE TAYLOR. . . .'' Emily even dreams about Beatrice. In her visions, Beatrice is asking to be let in, but Emily knows that would be a bad idea. This section might lead the reader to believe that there are some residual guilt feelings, but Emily buries them deeply to avoid dealing with pain.
After breakfast one morning, Emily is unable to rise because she feels tired and dizzy. Hearing a buzzing in her ear, Emily notices a bumblebee on the window. From behind her, she hears a dripping noise and footsteps. She's sure that Beatrice has risen from the river, but she is paralyzed and unable to look. The last thing she feels is a prick to her neck. Dr. Armstrong later confirms that she was injected with poison from a hypodermic syringe.
Okay, let's now take a brief moment to review what we've learned. As we saw, the character of Emily Brent is a 65-year-old religious fanatic who decided to go to Indian Island despite the fact that she can't remember the person who invited her because she wants the free vacation. She doesn't drink, smoke, or enjoy the company of men. Instead, she reads her Bible and harshly judges others for engaging in activities that she does not approve of.
She was invited to the island to face the crime of murder of her servant, Beatrice Taylor. While Emily didn't actually kill Beatrice, her harshness led to Beatrice's death. After losing her job and being turned away by her family because of her pregnancy, Beatrice jumps in a river. Emily does not feel badly about it at all...at least that is what she tells herself. Although Emily's dreams and other subconscious actions would indicate that she is covering her guilt with hate to keep from dealing with it. Emily is killed by a poisoned hypodermic syringe to the neck that she believes is coming from Beatrice.