The Hound of the Baskervilles

Sherlock Holmes The novel's protagonist. Holmes is the famed 221b Baker Street detective with a keen eye, hawked nose, and the trademark hat and pipe. Holmes is observation and intuition personified, and though he takes a bit of a back seat to Watson in this story, we always feel his presence. It takes his legendary powers to decipher the mystifying threads of the case.

HideShow resource information

Dr Watson

The novel's other protagonist and narrator. Dr. Watson is the stout sidekick to Holmes and longtime chronicler of the detective's adventures. In Hound, Watson tries his hand at Holmes' game, expressing his eagerness to please and impress the master by solving such a baffling case. As sidekick and apprentice to Holmes, Watson acts as a foil for Holmes' genius and as a stand-in for us, the awestruck audience.

Story is seen through his eyes, therefore, the reader feels more sympathtic towards him.

Holmes obviously trusts Watson; he sends him to Baskerville Hall and also reads his reports closely.

Although Watson is unable to solve the mystery without Holmes, he is still able to uncover some important facts- capable, fairly intelligent, eager to impress Holmes.

Watson's obvious admiration for Homes again helps to make the detective appear even greater- this helps to emphasie Holmes intelligence.

Acts as a foil to Homes where Watson struggles to understand clues and Homes immediately sees the relevance

1 of 27

Sir Henry Baskerville

The late Sir Charles's nephew and closet living relative. Sir Henry is hale and hearty, described as "a small, alert, dark-eyed man about thirty years of age, very sturdily built." By the end of the story, Henry is as worn out and shell-shocked as his late uncle was before his death.

Appears a little short tempered. He argues with the staff at the hotel and with Stapleton.

Appears to be brave, from the start of the novel, because he is unafraid of going to Baskerville Hall.

The relationship with Miss Stapleton, helps to add further drama and intrigue.

2 of 27

Sir Charles Baskerville

The head of the Baskerville estate. Sir Charles was a superstitious man, and terrified of the Baskerville curse and his waning health at the time of his death. Sir Charles was also a well-known philanthropist, and his plans to invest in the regions surrounding his estate make it essential that Sir Henry move to Baskerville Hall to continue his uncle's good works.

Nervous Disposition

Discovered in an alley that linked onto the moor

Heart Problems- was going to leave from London

No wife or children

Desendant of Hugo Baskervilles

Superstitious, paranoid about the curse -> led to the deteriation of his heath/ increased stress

3 of 27

Sir Hugo Baskerville

A debaucherous and shadowy Baskerville ancestor, Sir Hugo is the picture of aristocratic excess, drinking and pursuing pleasures of the flesh until it killed him.

4 of 27

Dr Mortimer

Family friend and doctor to the Baskervilles. Mortimer is a tall, thin man who dresses sloppily but is an all-around nice guy and the executor of Charles's estate. Mortimer is also a phrenology enthusiast, and he wishes and hopes to some day have the opportunity to study Holmes' head.

5 of 27

Jack Stapleton

A thin and bookish-looking entomologist and one-time schoolmaster, Stapleton chases butterflies and reveals his short temper only at key moments. A calm façade masks the scheming, manipulative villain that Holmes and Watson come to respect and fear.

Shows a fascination with and a great deal of knowleddge about the Grimpen Mire at the first meeting- this is suspicious in hindsight.

Suspicions are raised when he reacts angrily to Sir Henry meeting with Miss Stapleton.

His subsequent apology could show his cunning as he is able to deceive Watson and Sir Henry about the real reason fir his anger -> Miss Stapleton is infact his wife, rather than his sister, hence his strong jelousy.

He can remain calm under pressure, like when he discovered Seldon has died, instead of Sir Henry.

When Holmes explains how Stapleton planned his crime at the end, it illustrates his intelligence and cunning.

Very ingusitive from the moment he is introduced (questions Watson and Holmes) - suspicious

6 of 27

Miss Stapleton

 Allegedly Stapleton's sister, this dusky Latin beauty turns out to be his wife. Eager to prevent another death but terrified of her husband, she provides enigmatic warnings to Sir Henry and Watson

7 of 27

The Barrymore's

The longtime domestic help of the Baskerville clan. Earnest and eager to please, the portly Mrs. Barrymore and her gaunt husband figure as a kind of red herring for the detectives, in league with their convict brother but ultimately no more suspicious than Sir Henry.

Barrymore-> lied about his where abouts as the telegram was delivered to his wife: who replied.

Created an air of suspision over him for the beginning of the novel, as he was lying about the a certain aspect of the case (which was later explained), but positioned his as a suspect for a while.

Mrs Barrymore -> Mrs Barrymore was heard to be  crying horrifically , which could be perceived to be a result of a guilty conciense on circumstances she has been involved in -> Sir Charles death as she had close contact to him.

However this was disproved, as it was discovered that she was crying about the impromptu return of her murderous brother, the convict - Seldon

They want to leave Baskerville Hall, after their family serving them for over 100yrs. Possibly want to distance themselves from certain circumstances (e.g. Sir Charles' death, Seldon)



8 of 27

Laura Lyons

A local young woman. Laura Lyons is the beautiful brunette daughter of "Frankland the crank," the local litigator who disowned her when she married against his will. Subsequently abandoned by her husband, the credulous Laura turns to Mr. Stapleton and Sir Charles for help.

Wrote a letter to Sir Charles, requesting him to meet her at Yew Alley (location of his death), but failed to keep her appointment -> raising suspisions about her involvement in his death.

The letter contained information that she needed help from Sir Henry financially, to free her from a difficult, controlling marriage.

Asked Sir Charles to burn the letter - 'please, please, as you are a gentleman , burn this letter' -> possible incriminating evidence, raises suspision on her involvement.

Was being manipulated by Stapleton, as she believes she has a chance to be married to him -> instead she was being used as a pawn in Stapletons' plans -> an innocent party?

9 of 27

The Convict

A murderous villain, whose crimes defy description. The convict is nonetheless humanized by his association with the Barrymores. He has a rodent-like, haggardly appearance. His only wish is to flee his persecutors in Devonshire and escape to South America.

Poses a dangerous threat to both Dr. Watson and Holmes, as he is openly violent -> convicted murderer.

Is known to bw hiding on the moor surrounding Baskerville Hall -> increases suspense and tension

Escaped around the time of Sir Charles' death

10 of 27

Mr Frankland

Laura's father. Frankland is a man who likes to sue, a sort of comic relief with a chip on his shoulder about every infringement on what he sees as his rights. Villainized due to his one-time harsh treatment of Laura, Frankland is for the most part a laughable jester in the context of this story.

Discovered the location where Holmes was residing on the moor, through his telescope, as he traced a young boy carrying a 'small cloth bundle' -> but he thought he was tracing the convict.

11 of 27

Sherlock Holmes

The novel's protagonist. Holmes is the famed 221b Baker Street detective with a keen eye, hawked nose, and the trademark hat and pipe. Holmes is observation and intuition personified, and though he takes a bit of a back seat to Watson in this story, we always feel his presence. It takes his legendary powers to decipher the mystifying threads of the case.

At times he can appear to mock Watson and his abilities. e.g. the cane. However does assure him his help (report sent to London) is valued.

He is rather secretive about his plans e.g. he follows watson down to Baskerville Hall and will not reveal his final plan (Chapter 14).

His methods of deduction are very logical and ecentric e.g.he is not taken in by the supernatural tale of the Hound, instead he looks for rational alternatives.

Can be arrogant or egotistical e.g. his annoyaance at being calles second best by Mortimer and his mocking of Watson's deductions.

12 of 27

Sherlock Holmes Continued

Very observant. He can spot the clues no one esle can see e.g. Dr Mortimer's cane and the portrait of Sir Hugo.

His energy helps to add pace to the final chapters. It is Homes' arrival that sets the events and actions in motion.

Shows a great deal of energy and enthusiasm for what he does. This is especially obvious in the later chapters.

Does make occasional mistakes which may make him appear more 'human' e.g. allowing the bearded man to escape London.

13 of 27

Relationship between Stapleton and Miss Stapleton

'Brunette...slim, elegant and tall... beautiful dark, egar eyes.'

'Neutral-tinted, with light hair and grey eyes.'

These extracts describe the Stapleton's as completely alternate figures.

As these two characters present each other as siblings, but there is an evident  contrast between their appearences, it causes there to be an air of suspicion over the brother and sister's honsety.

Implies the characters may be concealing the truth about other events.

'My sister is devoted to nature.'

'Strong tastes for botony and zoology.'

'Siblings' having the same intrests is highly suspicious- brother and sister usually have oppposite intrests, while a couple would search for someone who had alike hobbies.

Highlights the flaws in the introduction of their relation.

14 of 27

Relationship between Stapleton and Miss Stapleton

'I had not even time to put on my hat.'

'Bounding from tuft to tuft.'

Demonstrate contrast between characters.

Miss Stapleton is concerned about forgetting her hat -> implies she has a fortunate upbringing (making her lady) and solid morals.

Mr Stapleton's behaviour infront of Dr Watson, conveys he is of eccentric mind, as he is not worried about formal introductions or of others preceptions of him.

Lack of worry could suggest that he also has very obscure and unique theories, concepts and unconventional ideas -> without fearing the consequences

Supported by him running towards the 'Grimpen Mire; which has the evident threat of danger and death.


15 of 27

Relationship between Stapleton and Miss Stapleton

'My brother is very anxious...he would be very angry if he knew.'

Displays how protective and concerned Miss Stapleton is about her 'brother's' well being.

Possibly because he is concealing what may be vital, informationf from Dr Watson, because she is aware that by divulging this, she would hurt Stapleton.

Suggests intimacy of their relationship, as she is aware of alternate aspects of his personality, which only those close to him could know.

However, this quote could have an alternate meaning:

Stapleton is being described as 'angry' could imply that she is not sharing information in dear of the consequences from him.


16 of 27

Relationship between Stapleton and Miss Stapleton

'The story of the hound'...'I do not believe in such nonsense'...'But I do'.

Knows the truth about the circumstances?

Short sentences to create effect? - hinting at the truth?

'You don't believe such nonsense as that?' - referring to the hound

Displays he is an educated man, as he does not believe superstitious/ super natural tales.

Concealing his own belief, in case of suspision/ seen as weak.

'He does not wish their intimacy to ripen into love.'

Jealous -> Niss Stapleton is paying attention to Sir Henry, instead of him.

Peculiar emotion for a brother -> makes reader question his relationship with Miss Stapleton.

17 of 27

Inital Reasons to Suspect Stapleton as the Murder

Likeable personna in the circumstances -> Suspicious

Has no valid purpose to be living on the moor

Has an eccentric personality, which could lead to extreme ideas and ideology

Once he moved to the moor unfortunate events began to occur -> lived a 'moderate' distance from the Hall -> easy access to Sir Charles and Sir Henry

Lied about his relation to his 'sister' (told to actually be his wife) -> what other circumstances did he lie about...

He has a broad knowledge about the different features on the moor (such as the way to access the summit of the 'Grimpen Mire'), which could aid to concealing certain aspects of his plan for Dr Watson and Holmes...

18 of 27

Red Herrings

Red Herring -> simething/ a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting.

Sometimes red herrings offer a too easy explanation for circumstances.

Largest red herring is regarding the Barrymore's and the escaped convict:

Mrs Barrymore's midnight crying, which the reader would take to be linked to the Sir Charles' death, when infact it regarded her brother on the moor.

Barrymore's night adventures where he would be looking out of a window onto the moor.

Initially, the reader believed that Barrymore was searching the moor lands for the mysterious hound, which could also imply that he was involved in the death of Sir Charles, as the original thought of this was the hound.

Still, he was infact looking for his brother-in-law's signal upon the moor, to alert him as to where the convict was hiding, so he could deliver him food.

These red herrings deviate the readers attention, from other events that may be occuring throughout the novel; which could develop and be vital to the plot.

19 of 27

Themes

Supernatural:

Silhouette of the hound

The 'glowing' hound of the Baskervilles

Silhouette of the man on the tor (initially supernatural, as Watson could have hallucinated, but it is later shown to be reality, because it is Holmes)

Reality:

Letter to Sir Henry

Missing boot(s) of Sir Henry's

Howl of the Hound at its footprint next to Sir Charles' dead body

Stapleton's profession

Man with the black beard, in the cab in London

20 of 27

Themes

Supernatural movement in Victorian England - i.e seance

The movement was strongly believed by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle and many others.

This is siginificant to the novel, because Victorian society would have been more open to the concept of a supernatural beast prowling the moor.

Sir Charles is introduced early on in the novel, where Dr Watson and Holmes are trying to discover the cause of his death.

The Hound was thought to be the cause of his deathm which establishes the supernatural theme (imprtant concept!) and aids to the tension and apprehension of the other events -> mysterious

As soon as Dr. Mortimer arrives to unveil the mysterious curse of the Baskervilles, Hound wrestles with questions of natural and supernatural occurrences. The doctor himself decides that the marauding hound in question is a supernatural beast, and all he wants to ask Sherlock Holmes is what to do with the next of kin. From Holmes' point of view, every set of clues points toward a logical, real- world solution. Considering the supernatural explanation, Holmes decides to consider all other options before falling back on that one. Sherlock Holmes personifies the intellectual's faith in logic, and on examining facts to find the answers.

21 of 27

Tension, Anticipation and Inital Clues

Tension- Is when the reader feels uneasy at the prospect of what is about the happen.

Anticipation- Is when the reader is looking forward to events and is expecting something to happen.

Anonymous letter -> cut out from the the Times newspaper -> 'As you value your life or reason keep away from the moor'.

A warning-> concerned about Sir Henry's well being?, knows the truth about the hound, wants to keep Sir Henry away from danger or a direct threat.

Reverse psychology -> causing Sir Henry to go to the moor in defiance

Black Beard- >someone is in a disguise, to avoid discovery, while taking a strong intrest in Sir Henry's movements.

An intelligent culprit, as they want to frame someone else for their crime (Barrymore), to prevent identification .


22 of 27

Inital Clues

Old Boot- Stolen from Sir Henry's hotel room, alongside a new boot.

The new boot had never been worn

The old boot had been worn

The new boot had been stolen first, but then returned and exchanged for the old boot. Was this possibly because the old boot had more of a scent of Sir Henry, allowing the Hound to follow it and hunt Sir Henry down -> foreshadowing future events

23 of 27

Language Features

Personification-> When ideas or things are given a personality and human characteristics.

Metaphor-> Describing one thing as if it were another. e.g. chapter 5 = 'three broken threads'

Simile-> A comparison using 'like' or 'as'.

Adverb-> Used to modify a verb.

Adjective-> Words used to describe nouns.

These langauge features, have been used to allow the moor to become to life.

24 of 27

Settings

The moor can be described as:

Desolate

Gnarled

Melancholy

During the day the moor appears to be a non-threatening piece of land, but at night it appears to be an ominous expanse of land, which proves to be a lot more difficult to navigate around than originallt planned - metaphor for the complexity of the crime they are trying to resolve?

Baskerville Hall

Merripit House

All of the settings are are barren, vast and mysterious, which contributes to the tension and apprehension of trying to solve the crime. Also, they allow some of the scenes to appear more dramatic and effective.



25 of 27

Key Facts

Narrator · Dr. Watson

Climax · Holmes' secret plan comes to fruition when a guileless Sir Henry heads home across the moor, only to be attacked by the hound. Hindered by a thick fog and sheer fright, Holmes and Watson nonetheless shoot the beast and solve the mystery.

Protagonist · Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes

Antagonist · Jack Stapleton

Setting (time) · 1889. Holmes notes that the date 1884, engraved on Dr. Mortimer's walking stick, is five years old.

Setting (place) · The novel starts and ends in London, in Holmes' office at 221b Baker Street. Most of the rest of the novel takes place in Devonshire, at the imposing Baskerville Hall, the lonely moorlands, and the rundown Merripit House where Stapleton lives.

Point of view · The mystery is told entirely from Watson's point of view, although the author regularly switches from straight narrative to diary to letters home.

26 of 27

Key Facts

Falling Action (drama after the climax) · Holmes explains the intricacies of the case; Sir Henry and Mortimer head off on vacation to heal Henry's nerves

Tense · Modulates from past (as in Watson's narration of London events) to recent past (as in Watson's diary and letters)

Foreshadowing · The deaths of some wild horses prefigure Stapleton's own death by drowning in the Grimpen mire. There is a sense in which all the clues serve as foreshadowing for later discoveries.

Tone · At different times, the novel's tone is earnest, reverent (of Holmes), uncertain, and ominous.

Themes · Good and evil; natural and supernatural; truth and fantasy; classism, hierarchy, and entitlement

Motifs · Superstition and folk tales; disguised identities; the red herring

Symbols · The moor (the mire); the hound

Chapter titles are important to the novel, as they provide a brief summary of the chapters.

27 of 27

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all The Hound of the Baskervilles resources »