Jack the Ripper: Why did he do it?

Ciara Luckett

Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper is a well-known serial killer from London. From August 7 to September 10 in 1888, Jack the Ripper killed five London prostitutes. His specific M.O. included strangling the women, then cutting their throats to drain the blood, then mutilating the bodies and removing the internal organs. The murders occurred only early in the morning on weekends.
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Why did he do it?

There are several theories as to why Jack the Ripper committed the murders this way. Here are the main theories.

  • He suffered from a psychological disorder.
  • He hated women.
  • He hated prostitutes and believed them to be evil.
  • He was conducting science experiments.
  • He wanted to point out society's obsession with death.

Was Jack the Ripper a psychopath? The papers seemed to think so.

The media of the time reported Jack the Ripper as psychotic. The papers amplified fear in women, even though Jack the Ripper is known to only kill prostitutes. From a feminist perspective, the papers were only interested in frightening women with their assertions that Jack the Ripper was a threat to all women. The papers used bias by omission by neglecting or minimizing the fact that Jack the Ripper only killed prostitutes. The papers also used bias by labeling by first issuing the name Jack the Ripper and through their continuous use of name-calling.

Later sources seem to think otherwise.

After the murders came to an end, some devout Christians stepped forward claiming that Jack the Ripper was doing the world a favor by removing prostitutes from the world. There were assertions made that Jack the Ripper targeted only prostitutes because his mission was to end the sin. While few justified his actions, those who spoke out did praise the reason behind the murders. This can be seen through a feminist perspective and a cultural perspective. At this particular time in history, women had almost no rights. If a woman died, the public didn't care. Culturally, prostitutes were seen as being lower forms of life, so not many paid attention to their deaths. Those who argue that Jack the Ripper worked to rid the world of sin use bias by spin. They spin his terrible acts by claiming that the reason behind them was acceptable.

The conspiracy theorists offer another conclusion.

Some theorists look back on the evidence for a new explanation. The method of dissection indicates an in depth knowledge of human anatomy, thus indicating the possibility of being a physician. With that in mind, conspiracy theorists argued that Jack the Ripper was performing secret operations for the benefit of gaining new medical knowledge. Unfortunately, this is based almost entirely on theory with limited facts to support it. From a cultural perspective, many individuals were suspicious of doctors. It has become well-known that doctors would often pay individuals to murder individuals so that the doctors could perform autopsies for universities. From that information, conspiracy theorists argue that Jack the Ripper was an estranged doctor that was interested in gaining new medical knowledge. This theory represents bias by selection of sources. The only piece of evidence used to support this is that the dissections appear to have been medical in nature. No other facts are referenced.

With all of these theories in mind, watch this interview with Jack the Ripper.

School project- Jack the Ripper

Clearly, there is one logical explanation.

While all other theories exist as an attempt to somehow justify the actions of Jack the Ripper, the most plausible theory is that Jack the Ripper was psychotic. He must have had some sort of psychological disorder, if not many. He may have passed as "normal" throughout the week, but if deranged tendencies manifested themselves in the early hours of the weekend mornings.


Bio.com. A&E Networks Television. Web. 2 May 2015.

Montaldo, Charles. "Jack the Ripper Serial Killer Unsolved Case." Web. 2 May 2015.

"WELCOME TO JACK THE RIPPER 1888." Jack the Ripper. Web. 2 May 2015.