Aunt Martha is a sweet old lady who just happens to be an unapologetic mercy-killer, at least according to her innocent intentions. She thinks she is doing people a favor! Martha is quieter and more withdrawn than her sister, and more focused on her domestic duties of baking, tending to the house, and mixing up lethal combinations of arsenic. She keeps every single hat from each man that has met his maker in their house, all dusted and arranged in a cabinet, and feels much distress at the thought of burying a stranger in the basement. She makes people feel welcome and at home, is a huge encouragement to Mortimer and Elaine (and has been hoping they would get married for a long time), and has a lot of misgivings about Jonathan based on what she knows about him from his childhood. His return to her life makes her fear for all of them, but she’s also unable to turn him out of the house. She is attentive to details more than her sister, picking up and carrying out the wine so neither he nor his doctor friend drink it, and never realizing that would be an excellent solution to their domestic situation. Her reasons for what they do are sensible in her own mind, no matter how much the outside world might judge them as insane.

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Martha is a great deal more passive than her sister, reluctant to stand up to Jonathan, and gentler in many ways – she is sensitive and withdrawn and easily intimidated by the men in her life. She has adapted effortlessly to her sister’s ideas about killing single old men without anyone to care for them, and sees it as a nice thing to do. It’s her who came up with the special death cocktail, and then mixed it in wine to conceal the flavor—the height of apathetic “do-good-ery.” She feels upset when others get upset, and doesn’t like Mortimer to raise his voice or yell at them. Her protests are quieter, but she also sulks a bit that her sister would dispatch someone without her being present. Martha thinks she is doing a good and kind thing, and hates the idea that she isn’t, so she just ignores that fact in order to remain at peace with herself.