Aditi and Debraath talk about the intriguing themes in one of Agatha Christie’s world-renowned masterpieces: Death on the Nile! Do you find the shift in Jackie’s character arc fascinating? Ever wondered how Agatha Christie got the inspiration to write a novel set in such a unique holiday destination?
B: Hey school! Journsplit is back with another episode; the second part of our miniseries on Agatha Christie! If you haven’t heard our first episode, you can listen to it on our website/! This episode, we’ll be moving on to Death On The Nile! This book deals with some rather interesting themes as well, a few of which we’ll be covering: Obsessive Love, Allure of Evil, Envy and Greed, and finally Entitlement.
A: Let’s talk about the theme of obsessive love. Jackie, the best friend of affluent Linnet, was very volatile, her feelings always towards the extremes. This was even observed by the astute detective Poirot very early on in the story. He remarked that Jackie cared too much and that it was not safe. Later on in the story, Jackie’s prescient obsession over her former fiance was proven to be dangerous to everyone as she committed multiple murders just to get him back.
B: The second major theme was the Allure of Evil, especially as Jackie fell victim to it. Jackie appeared to be a wholesome person who could never turn to evil, but when her character arc is scrutinised, we can see her gradual shift to being malicious. To some extent, we can even sympathise with her and understand why she committed such cold-blooded murders that were so not in line with her character in general. (Although, that wasn’t a very good way of dealing with her problems). This shows just how tempting and alluring evil can be and how easy it is for one to turn to the dark side especially when they run out of patience.
A: The next theme we’ll cover is Envy and Greed. Jackie was always portrayed as the encouraging and enthusiastic best friend, like the faithful sidekick to the hero, and was always happy for her entitled friend Linnet. Linnet did not reciprocate this when Jackie got engaged to Simon, and decided to be a killjoy, throw her weight around and rob her best friend of the one thing that made her truly happy.
B: Aside from that, Linnet was pretty, young and rich, a combination which attracted the envy of literally everyone who set their eyes on her. Throughout the story, people keep commenting on how Linnet didn’t deserve anything she had. Jackie started getting jealous of all the attention that she got and her envy led her to develop a strong hatred towards Linnet, and drove her towards evil deeds that no one could have imagined of her because it didn’t fit with the loyal best friend vibe that she strongly personified at the beginning of the novel. Nevertheless, all this said, Linnet wasn’t content with what she had – she was already engaged to Lord Windlesham, a fancy, posh affluent guy but she still wanted Simon who was technically out of bounds. This links with the next theme, Entitlement.
A: Linnet’s love for Simon was very materialistic. Throughout her smooth life journey, whatever she wanted was presented to her in a golden platter before she even realised that she wanted it, due to which she was accustomed to getting her way. When she realised that she wanted Simon, she didn’t think twice about pushing the limit and taking her best friend’s fiance. When she wanted something, she got it, no matter how much it affected others – but this backfired on her in the end. Part of her attraction to Simon Doyle was not just his appearance or his personality, but the fact that he was poor and that she could dominate the relationship easily unlike Lord Windlesham who actually was very influential and also very fond of her but owned a lot of land, causing her to have a fear of being known as “Windlesham’s wife” instead of Linnet Ridgeway.
B: That, along with the fact that she could have married any man in the world but she decided to go for Simon Doyle speaks volumes of her selfishness and insecurity – she just couldn’t see her friend happier than she was. Was it really a true friendship or just a toxic excuse for a relationship?
A: A small observation I made was that the characters in the book who were neither greedy nor jealous seemed to be the happiest in the book (i.e. Rosalie and Cordelia).
B: Let’s discuss something lighter. Did you notice that on the very boat where three murders occurred with love and vengeance as a motive, new couples came together? Ironic, isn’t it?
A: Yes! Tim (the kleptomaniac) stops stealing things, corrects his ways and decides to marry Rosalie. Ferguson wanted to marry Cordelia but Cordelia eventually married Dr. Besner whom she thought had a good moral compass and whose profession she found interesting. Something positive, at least!
B: It’s really interesting how one needs to re-read these well-crafted novels in order to pick up such subtle hints. The exotic setting of Egypt was likely inspired by Christie’s husband, Max Mallowan’s vocation as a prominent archaeologist.
A: Oh, I didn’t know about that! Well that’s all for today, folks! We hope you enjoyed this episode about Agatha Christie and her works.
B: Look out for our final episode on A Pocket full of Rye! ✨