Judge Lawrence Wargrave
A recently retired judge. Wargrave is a highly intelligent
old man with a commanding personality. As the characters begin to
realize that a murderer is hunting them, Wargrave’s experience and air
of authority make him a natural leader for the group. He lays out
evidence, organizes searches, and ensures that weapons are locked
away safely. Wargrave’s guilt is revealed at the end of the novel
in a confession that illuminates the characteristics that drive
him to commit the series of murders: a strong sense of justice combined
with a sadistic delight in murdering.
A former governess who comes to Indian Island purportedly
to serve as a secretary to Mrs. Owen. Vera wants to escape a past
in which she killed a small boy in her care, Cyril Hamilton, so
that the man she loved would inherit Cyril’s estate. Although the
coroner cleared her of blame, Vera’s lover abandoned her. Vera is
one of the most intelligent and capable characters in the novel,
but she also suffers from attacks of hysteria, feels guilty about
her crime, and reacts nervously to the uncanny events on the island.
The “Ten Little Indians” poem has a powerful effect on her.
in-depth analysis of Vera Claythorne.
A mysterious, confident, and resourceful man who
seems to have been a mercenary soldier in Africa. Lombard is far
bolder and more cunning than most of the other characters, traits
that allow him to survive almost until the end of the novel. His
weakness is his chivalrous attitude toward women, particularly Vera, with
whom he has a number of private conversations. He cannot think of
her as a potential killer, and he underestimates her resourcefulness,
which proves a fatal mistake.
in-depth analysis of Philip Lombard.
Dr. Edward George Armstrong
A gullible, slightly timid doctor. Armstrong often
draws the suspicion of the other guests because of his medical knowledge.
He is a recovering alcoholic who once accidentally killed a patient
by operating on her while drunk. Armstrong, while professionally
successful, has a weak personality, making him the perfect tool
for the murderer. He has spent his whole life pursuing respectability
and public success, and is unable to see beneath people’s exteriors.
William Henry Blore
A former police inspector. Blore is a well-built
man whose experience often inspires others to look to him for advice.
As a policeman, he was corrupt and framed a man named Landor at
the behest of a criminal gang. On the island, he acts boldly and frequently
takes initiative, but he also makes frequent blunders. He constantly
suspects the wrong person, and his boldness often verges on foolhardiness.
old, ruthlessly religious woman who reads her Bible every day. The
recording accuses Emily Brent of killing Beatrice Taylor, a servant
whom she fired upon learning that Beatrice was pregnant out of wedlock. Beatrice
subsequently killed herself. Unlike the other characters, Emily
Brent feels convinced of her own righteousness and does not express
the slightest remorse for her actions.
dignified butler. Rogers continues to be a proper servant even after
his wife is found dead and the bodies begin piling up. The recording
accuses Rogers and his wife of letting their former employer die because
they stood to inherit money from her.
General John Gordon Macarthur
The oldest guest. Macarthur is accused of sending
a lieutenant, Arthur Richmond, to his death during World War I because
Richmond was his wife’s lover. Once the first murders take place, Macarthur,
already guilt-ridden about his crime, becomes resigned to his death
and sits by the sea waiting for it to come to him.
wife. Ethel is a frail woman, and the death of Tony Marston makes
her faint. Wargrave believes her husband dominates her and that
he masterminded their crime.
A rich, athletic, handsome youth. Tony Marston likes
to drive recklessly and seems to lack a conscience. He killed two
small children in a car accident caused by his speeding, but shows
shady, criminal character hired by the murderer to make the arrangements
for the island. Morris allegedly peddled drugs to a young woman
and drove her to suicide.