Is Marge Sherwood Based on a Real Person? What Happened to Her?

Although Netflix’s neo-noir thriller ‘Ripley‘ chronicles the tale of a career criminal and con artist named Tom Ripley, one of the most intriguing characters in his saga is actually Marge Sherwood. That’s because while we follow this lead as he travels from New York to Italy upon getting hired to convince vagabond Dickie Greenleaf to return home, she’s suspicious of him from the get-go. Though while many might deem her reactions a bit extreme despite her being the latter’s girlfriend, she did kind of turn out to be right since the newcomer ended up evolving into a cold killer.

Marge Sherwood Isn’t a Real Author

While Marge, or Marjorie (portrayed by Dakota Fanning in this 8-part series), is a highly three-dimensional figure with her own unique set of qualities, mannerisms, and faults, she is fictional. The truth is this original production in itself is not a biographical drama or one inspired by any real-life events; it is simply based on the 1955 novel ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ by Patricia Highsmith. Therefore, all the featured personalities as well as the circumstances surrounding them are simply the result of this now-late renowned author’s imagination plus her deepest, darkest fantasies.

We actually assert this because Patricia did once have a homosexual relationship with an involved woman, and they even traversed Italy together while the former often had murderous thoughts, but she didn’t think up Tom Ripley until another visit to the nation much later. It’s hence assumed she likely carried some characteristics of her lover into Dickie and penned Marge while thinking of her lover’s husband, to whom the latter returned for good following their trip. That dream of a happy life with the one she desired even when she couldn’t have them is also possibly why she vehemently included a dumping act.

According to both the book as well as the show, Marge remained wary of Tom no matter his efforts to get them closer or Dickie’s efforts to give her more attention because it all felt weird to her. It has been indicated one of her issues was with his queerness, but it was deeper because it was only his relationship with Dickie she was worried about, not with anybody else. So, of course, after Tom killed his target while on a boat during a short holiday to San Remo, kind of as a hurrah to their distancing friendship, he assumed his identity and assured Marge Dickie was dumping her for good.

What Happened to Marge?

While Marge initially didn’t believe a word to come out of Tom’s mouth, she did get heartbroken upon receiving a letter signed by Dickie himself – written on his typewriter and signed. Nevertheless, she continued communicating until it got too much for her, and then she wrote an angry remark about his association with Tom, just to never see or hear from him again. She did cooperate in the ensuing Italian investigation as one of Dickie’s childhood friends also turned up dead, but she had no idea the ones both she and the officials were talking to was Tom, not Dickie. Tom was suspected at first since there was no record of him anywhere, but then Dickie disappeared when he settled in Venice.

It was in Venice, per both the original work by Patricia plays the retelling by Steven Zaillian, that Marge, Dickie’s father, and an American private detective confronted Tom about the ordeal, just for him to suggest their common point was depressed and may have committed suicide. Things did get complicated as their lack of belief then got combined with Marge actually staying over at his rented place, which is where she found one of her ex’s beloved rings, too.

That’s when Tom seriously contemplated slaying Marge too, likely the same technique he’d used on his brother’s best friends, but she is saved by her own sudden switch in beliefs. She said aloud that if Dickie gave his rings to Tom for safekeeping, then he probably meant to kill himself as he would’ve never willingly parted from it alive. Tom thus didn’t go ahead with his split scan plan of action, enabling Marge to go ahead and publish her original work in Dickie’s memories before also allowing her to grow on a spiritual level by marrying. She thus ended up publishing a book, fulfilling the dream job she’d been hiding out for years.

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