Jack the Ripper

Essay by karlrUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 2004

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This is a brief review of the Jack the Ripper murders that occurred in London more than a

hundred years ago. Much of the original evidence gathered at the time has been lost, and

many "facts" are actually opinions by the various writers who have written about the case

during the past century. Many aspects of the case are therefore contested, and so what

follows is a summation of the case in general. There are many books available to the

student of crime who wishes to grapple with the many mysteries associated with the


"Jack the Ripper" is the popular name given to a serial killer who killed a number of

prostitutes in the East End of London in 1888. The name originates from a letter written

by someone who claimed to be the killer published at the time of the murders. The killings

took 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 Importance

Jack 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 general

populace had become literate and the press was a force for social change. The Ripper also

appeared when there were tremendous political turmoil and both the liberals and social

reformers, as well as the Irish Home rule partisans tried to use the crimes for their own

ends. Every day the activities of the Ripper were chronicled in the newspapers as were

the results of the inquiries and the actions taken by the police. Even the feelings of the

people living in the East End, and the...