Mayella Ewell: Victim or Villain

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Mayella Ewell-Victim or Villian In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee portrays Mayella Ewell as a lonely girl who longed for acceptance and love, but is she just an innocent victim of her father, or is she a wolf in sheep’s clothing? One can argue that she is a victim because of her living situation, but one can also argue that she is a villain in the sense that she caused harm to others. In the novel, Mayella did something unacceptable in society: she tempted Tom Robinson, a black man. It is understandable that she was seeking companionship and love. However, when her father caught her in the act, her reaction can not be pardoned. She refused to take any responsibilities for her actions, and, instead, accused Tom of rape. Her irresponsible actions caused the death of an innocent man, ripped his family apart, and jeopardized two young lives. Therefore, Mayella Ewell should be held responsible for her actions and deserves condemnation. First of all, Mayella caused the death of an innocent man: Tom Robinson. The first mistake she made was to seduce a black man at a time of prejudice and social injustice. She knew that consequences would be grave, but she did it anyhow without a second thought. However, when she got caught, she pushed all her problems onto Tom, and marked him “a dead man the minute Mayella Ewell opened her mouth and screamed” (Lee 254). This quotes shows how much negative impacts Mayella’s actions had on Tom. The second mistake she made was lying in court. When Mayella publicly accused Tom of rape, she gave him zero chance of ever winning the case. Even when Atticus made it extremely obvious that she was lying, she still held onto her lie. She even said to the jury: “that nigger yonder took advantage of me an’ if you fine fancy gentlemen don’t wanta do nothin’ about it then you’re all yellow stinkin’ cowards, stinkin’ cowards, the lot of
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