warning: spoiler alert!
The thing about the truth, however unwanted it is, is that it can never be hidden for too long. The truth will always rise to the top eventually, and when it does, it can change a person significantly. If only one of the protagonists of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by the talented Agatha Christie, knew this very important theme beforehand…
Hercule Poirot, the esteemed detective, introduces this theme by saying, “‘Understand this, I mean to arrive at the truth. The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to the seeker after it’” (Christie 145). Poirot was talking to a few of the witnesses and suspects involved in the case of the murder of Roger Ackroyd. One of the witnesses, Flora Ackroyd, Roger’s niece, said that she did not like where all the evidence was pointing, as the suspect was someone very close to her. She hinted at wanting Poirot to look in another direction; however, he was very persistent on finding the truth, and nothing but the truth. This a respectable action, as he cared about finding out what actually happened more than he wanted to have a bias to protect someone. Not many of us are able to do that. Using this very well-put together quote, Hercule Poirot introduced us to the theme that the truth can never be hidden for too long.
Dr. Sheppard, one of the protagonists of this novel, only realized this theme when it was too late, after he killed Ackroyd: “A strange end to my manuscript. I meant it to be published some day as the history of one of Poirot’s failures! Odd, how things pan out” (283). All along, he believed that his murder of Roger Ackroyd was brilliant (which it was) and smartly planned out. He played along as a witness and thought no one would ever guess it was him, as he was a good friend of Roger Ackroyd, and he had no direct motive. However, he did not realize that the truth would always rise above, sooner or later, especially with the help of Hercule Poirot. After this, Sheppard learns that it was useless to try to conceal things, as the truth will be figured out eventually. It’s safe to assume that he learned a valuable lesson after this, although it would be of no use, as he ended his life soon after.
The theme of this story has applied to me, multiple times. There have been times when I’ve lied, or done something morally wrong. I thought I would get away with it, but the truth has always found its way to the top. There was one significant time about 7 years ago when my friend and I ganged up against a girl. We forced her to give us her stuff, like her toys or jewelry. She did give us her prized possessions, and we took it without a second thought. I thought I had gotten away with it; however, my mom figured out, and even though I kept denying it, she knew that I did bully the girl. Because of that one time, I’ve learned that the truth will always be known eventually, and now, I try my best not to do many things that I know I’ll regret.
Agatha Christie shows us this theme, and how this affects the character, repeatedly, through the suspenseful and chilling story of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. ‘The truth will always be uncovered in the end’ is a concept that many of us should remember to live by, before we do anything irrational, from saying something somewhat mean to murder.