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The Sociopath Mr. Ripley Essay

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Conceptualize a world in which you have no conscience, no feelings of guilt or remorse -no matter what actions you take- no sense of empathy or concern of the well being of friends, loved ones, or even family members. This is the world of a sociopath. This is the world of Tom Ripley in Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley. Tom develops into an intelligent young man who eventually conjures a crime spree in Europe. His driving force behind this spree, though the spree may be sporadic, is freedom. His ability to be independent from a guilty conscience and the pleasure from concealing a false identity (characteristics of a sociopath) are his motives behind his acquisition for freedom. We do not know much about Tom’s childhood;…show more content…
The Tom we see in New York is poor, intelligent, clever, and anti-social. He makes his keep by receiving monthly checks from his Aunt Dottie and gets his kick by acting as an income tax collector. The title he receives as "Collector of Internal Revenue" (18) is the first notion of Tom getting off on a false identity. While in New York he gets a break from the filthy lifestyle he's leading. The filth is compiled of the crummy community apartment building and the roommates and residents. "There they all were, mostly Bob's lousy friends, sprawled on his bed, on the floor, everywhere… The slobs he had thought he had left behind" (34). Out of serendipitous circumstances and Tom's clever, quick intelligence, he gains an opportunity to mold himself into a position to receive a free ride to Europe. He plays the part of the friend of Robert (Dickie) Greenleaf while Mr. Greenleaf (Dickie's father) becomes his audience. "Tom went on, getting into the spirit of it. 'Dickie showed me some ship models' … 'Did he ever show you his frame models?' Dickie hadn't, but Tom said brightly, 'yes!'" (14) Impersonations become a constant theme. Starting with the act as an income tax collector to the act as Roberts's friend, these impersonations escalate throughout. The attention seeking pleasure he receives from acting out a false identity ends up not being enough. The beginning of his crime spree and essentially his freedom can be seen in Mongibello, Italy. Not only does
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