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Tom Ripley Character Analysis

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Fictional psychopaths in literature are some of the most appealing characters; characters like: Norman Bates from Psycho, Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby and Amy from Gone Girl. Each of these mentioned characters has an appealing factor and also suffer from disinhibited and bold behaviors that makes them believable psychopaths. Most fictional psychopaths are written by male writers, but this wasn’t the case when Patricia Highsmith, a woman, created Tom Ripley from The Talented Mr. Ripley. Highsmith’s creation of a male psychopath was not only believable, but also made Tom Ripley likeable. Highsmith’s creation of Tom Ripley, a antisocial, jealous young man with a slight charm, made us debate whether if we should root for him or root against…show more content…
What do you mean? Dickie frowned. Paid your way? Yes. It was his one last chance to amuse Dickie or to repel him, to make Dickie burst out laughing or go out and slam the door in disgust. But the smile was coming, the long corners of his mouth going up, the way Tom remembered Dickie’s smile (56-57). Ripley shows signs of antisocial personality disorder when Highsmith writes, “Tom had to smile as he wrote it, because he and Dickie were talking of cruising around the Greek islands this winter . . .” (72). Ripley has lied to Mr. Greenleaf about Dickie’s decision of returning home during the winter. Frequent lying is a common sign of antisocial personality disorder and Ripley shows signs of the disorder throughout the novel. Psychopaths such as Ripley are fraudulent, reckless and antisocial, but they can also be incredibly smart and have a knack for the art of…show more content…
Caught staring at the acrobats wearing yellow G-strings, Ripley suddenly feels ashamed like when Marge had told Dickie that she thought that Ripley was gay. Ripley senses that his friendship with Dickie has met it’s untimely end, so Ripley has final decided to end Dickie’s life while on a boat ride of the coast of San Remo. Ripley lacks a moral compass because he doesn’t think twice about the heinous crimes he is about to commit. Ripley murders Dickie by bludgeoning him with an oar and disposes of his body in the Mediterranean. Highsmith writes, “He stopped and yanked at Dickie’s green ring. He pocketed it. The other ring was tighter, but it came off, over the bleeding scuffed knuckle” (102). Ripley shows no remorse after killing Dickie, in fact in this scene he steals Dickie’s most prized possessions from his lifeless body. Talk about adding insult to injury. Ripley then impersonates Dickie shortly after murdering him. He does so by forging Dickie’s signature on several checks and travels on his passport as well throughout Europe. Highsmith writes, “He had signed the register with Dickie’s hasty and rather flamboyant signature with the big looping capitals R and G” (116). In the previous scene we learn that Ripley is not only impersonating Dickie, but he is also committing fraud as well. Ripley continues to perfect his craft in
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