Agatha Christie's "Witness For The Prosecution"

747 words - 3 pages

This paper will present a compare and contrast of the short story, "Witness for the Prosecution" to the screenplay of the same name written by Agatha Christie. The focus of the similarities and differences will be, a review of the characters and the story.

In both versions there are both likable and unlikable characters that create a gripping tale where you find yourself hoping young Leonard Vole will beat the overwhelming odds stacked against him. Vole has been accused of murdering the late Mrs. Finch and in both he is represented by the defense attorney, Mr. Mayherne (changed later in the screenplay to Mayhew). However, in the screenplay Mayherne is the assistant of Sir Wilfrid Robarts, Q.C. Sir Robarts plays a foremost roll in the screen play, but his character does not exist in the short story. Leonard's wife, a foreign woman named Romaine, is as cunning and ruthless in both the play and the short story however her character as with most of the characters are presented differently by both stories. Finally, the maid of the late Mrs. Finch is Janet Mac Kenzie. Her character, while not developed at all in the short story, is described in the play as a Scottish woman, outspoken, and hearing impaired. Leonard, the accused, Mayherne the defense lawyer, Romaine the wife of the accused, the deceased Mrs. Finch and her maid Janet MacKenzie all play chief rolls in Christie's creation; however, it is Sir Robarts who is the most notable addition.

While the characters, are mostly the same, with the addition of some others, their parts in the story differ as much as does the ending of both. Leonard again is the accused, and Mayherne his defense, but Mayherne acts as a bit of a detective in the story and does little in the way of sleuthing in the play. The old woman, Mrs. Finch, while saved from a speeding bus by Loenard in both accounts, is later reunited with her savior at a party in the short story and in the play she finds him at the theater. None of this really impacts either story...

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