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Free Online Study Guide for The Hound of the Baskervilles

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Several settings are mentioned in the novel (Sir Henry comes from Canada, Stapleton fled from Costa Rica) but the main setting where all the events occur is England. The story begins in London, where Holmes has his office out of the apartment on Baker Street. The city is the site where the baronet receives a note warning him to stay away from the Hall, has two different boots stolen (and then one returned), and is followed by an unknown man.

Then events move out to Devonshire, where Baskerville Hall, Sir Henry’s new home, and Merripit House, Stapleton’s residence, are among the few places in the small town set amidst swampy land and Neolithic dwellings. This setting contributes much to the mood of mystery and the actual events, as when Selden and Stapleton meet their deaths.


Major Characters

Mr. Sherlock Holmes
The protagonist of the story. He is a detective and skeptic of the supernatural superstitions about the hound and determined to find the true evil behind the case. His powers of deductive reasoning and knowledge of human character allow him to get the most out of each clue, and eventually solve the case.

Dr. Watson
He serves as a secondary protagonist to Holmes and narrator of the story. Though not nearly as skilled in the art of detecting as Holmes, Watson is nonetheless invaluable; his reports allow further information to be relayed while Holmes remains in secrecy. These reports focus on how Watson has followed up on clues and kept an eye on Sir Henry’s safety.

Mr. Jack Stapleton
The antagonist of the story, Stapleton is the one who let the hound loose on Sir Charles, and attempted to likewise kill Sir Henry, in his pursuit of the Baskerville family inheritance (Stapleton is the son of Rodger Baskerville). While his interest in entomology is not fabricated, his name and situation are, such as the passing off of his wife as his sister, Miss Stapleton. His similar appearance to Hugo Baskerville reveals his motive in the crime, and, when he realizes Holmes has set a trap for him, he runs to his death.

The Baskerville family (Sir Henry, Sir Charles, and Sir Hugo)
Hugo Baskerville’s actions led to the legend of the hound of the Baskervilles, which prevents any member of the family from going out on the moor at night under threat of death. Sir Charles is a kindly old man whose death, which seems to coincide exactly with the legend, brings in Sherlock Holmes to investigate. Sir Henry is the heir to the fortune whose life is endangered when he goes to live in Baskerville Hall.

Minor Characters

Miss Stapleton
She is a beautiful woman from South America, whom Sir Henry falls in love with, not knowing she is actually married to Stapleton. She tries to save the baronet several times, by sending him the warning note in London and in person in Devonshire.

Dr. Mortimer
He is the country doctor who brings the case to the attention of Holmes and Watson. In doing so, he forgets his walking stick at their apartment; this provides an opportunity to introduce the reader to detective techniques, as Holmes and Watson draw out a profile of him based on the stick. He is also the one to tell Watson that Laura Lyons is the woman whose initials are at the bottom of the burned letter.

The Barrymores (John and Eliza) and Selden
Barrymore falls under suspicion early on, with his black beard (like the man in the cab) and suspicious behavior, suspiciously regarding the telegram and nightly trips to the empty room with the candle. Mrs. Barrymore reveals the reason for the latter-her brother is the escaped convict Selden and they have been taking food to him. Selden dies when the hound mistakenly pursues him in some of Sir Henry’s old clothes.

He is the young boy who Holmes employs as an assistant. He is sent to look for the cut-up copy of the Times in the hotel trash and is taken out to Devonshire to run errands for Holmes.

Mr. Frankland and Laura Lyons
Frankland is a neighboring man who spends his time with lawsuits and astronomy, and whose major part in the story is pointing out to Watson the boy carrying food to what he believes to be the convict. Laura Lyons is his estranged daughter, who was manipulated by Stapleton into sending the letter to Sir Charles and then not keeping the appointment.

He is the Scotland Yard detective that normally works with Holmes and Watson. He comes out to Devonshire when Holmes sends him a telegram requesting him to do so.

The Hound
A fierce hound bought by Stapleton and kept locked up out on the moor, except when used to kill Sir Charles, Selden, and (almost) Sir Henry. Its cries and the sight of it covered in phosphorus help keep the family legend alive.

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McCauley, Kelly. "TheBestNotes on The Hound of the Baskervilles". . 09 May 2017