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Jack The Ripper Essay

9469 words - 38 pages

This is a brief review of the Jack the Ripper murders that occurred in London more than ahundred years ago. Much of the original evidence gathered at the time has been lost, andmany "facts" are actually opinions by the various writers who have written about the caseduring the past century. Many aspects of the case are therefore contested, and so whatfollows is a summation of the case in general. There are many books available to thestudent of crime who wishes to grapple with the many mysteries associated with thecase."Jack the Ripper" is the popular name given to a serial killer who killed a number ofprostitutes in the East End of London in 1888. The name originates from a letter writtenby someone who claimed to be the killer published at the time of the murders. The killingstook place within a mile area and involved the districts of Whitechapel, Spitalfields,Aldgate, and the City of London proper. He was also called the Whitechapel Murderer and"Leather Apron."Significance and ImportanceJack the Ripper has remained popular for a lot of reasons. He was not the first serial killer,but he was probably the first to appear in a large metropolis at a time when the generalpopulace had become literate and the press was a force for social change. The Ripper alsoappeared when there were tremendous political turmoil and both the liberals and socialreformers, as well as the Irish Home rule partisans tried to use the crimes for their ownends. Every day the activities of the Ripper were chronicled in the newspapers as werethe results of the inquiries and the actions taken by the police. Even the feelings of thepeople living in the East End, and the editorials that attacked the various establishmentsof Society appeared each day for both the people of London and the whole world to read.It was the press coverage that made this series of murders a "new thing", something thatthe world had never known before. The press was also partly responsible for creatingmany myths surrounding the Ripper and ended up turning a sad killer of women into a"bogey man", who has now become one of the most romantic figures in history. The restof the responsibility lies with the Ripper. He may have been a sexual serial killer of a typeall too common in the 1990s, but he was also bent on terrifying a city and making thewhole world take notice of him by leaving his horribly mutilated victims in plain sight.Lastly, the Ripper was never caught and it is the mysteries surrounding this killer thatboth add to the romance of the story and creating an intellectual puzzle that people stillwant to solve.The VictimsIt is unclear just how many women the Ripper killed. It is generally accepted that he killedfive, though some have written that he murdered only four while others say seven ormore. The public, press, and even many junior police officers believed that the Ripper wasresponsible for nine slayings. The five that are generally accepted as the work of theRipper are:1.Mary Ann (Polly) Nichols,...

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