The Talented Mr. Ripley Themes & Symbolism

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At its core, The Talented Mr. Ripley is an exploration of the personality of one man, Tom Ripley. Today psychologists would likely label Ripley a sociopath. He feels his own emotions quite acutely, but is completely incapable of feeling any empathy or sympathy for other human beings. In fact, other people are no more than cardboard cutouts moving through the landscape, to Ripley. On the deepest level, like most two-year-olds, Ripley simply does not believe other people are as real as he is. The most pronounced example of this occurs in Tom's final days in New York, when he believes this greatest of all cities will cease to exist the minute his ship pulls away from the harbor.

This lack of empathy results in Ripley having no moral compass. Any action that benefits Tom Ripley is good, and anything that hurts him is bad, regardless of the outcome for other...

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This section contains 966 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Talented Mr. Ripley Study Guide
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