Cards on the Table Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe Hercule Poirot.

Poirot is a fussy and precise Belgian, often mistaken for a Frenchman. This is an error Poirot finds abhorrent. He has a waxed mustache and is ridiculous-looking.

2. Describe Shaitana.

Shaitana is a wealthy aristocrat, called a "dago" in society, known for being superior and for offering invitations that are considered dangerous acts by most people.

3. What does Shaitana do that is shocking and bizarre?

Mr. Shaitana claims to collect murderers and wishes to invite Poirot to a dinner party to which he will invite both murderers and detectives. Mr. Shaitana sees the true murderer as an artist; an individual to be admired.

4. What diversionary tactic does Christie employ in describing Poirot that might mislead the reader initially?

Describing him as a "ridiculous looking little man" (Chap. 1, p. 3), Christie initially misleads the reader, causing one to believe that if Poirot is ridiculous, he cannot be terribly smart. Such a tactic is diversionary and allows the reader to be lulled into a frame of mind in which a murderer might actually get away with the crime.

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