Free Online Study Guide for The Hound of the Baskervilles |
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The main antagonist, the character that opposes and hinders the protagonist, is Stapleton. He is the man behind the mystery, which by Holmes’s own admission, is most difficult and certainly worthy of his best efforts. It is not until the very end that there is even any hard evidence against Stapleton to bring to court and by that time, he has fled (unsuccessfully) into Grimpen Mire.
Stapleton was a devious man from the start (not surprisingly, given
his connection with Rodger and Hugo Baskerville), and was forced to leave
both Costa Rica and a town near Yorkshire, England because of his corruption.
When he realizes he is in line for such a large inheritance, he devises
a plan based on the old family legend and the superstitious nature of
the countryside. He finds a fierce hound and covers it in phosphorous,
then manages to kill off Sir Charles and comes close to doing likewise
with Sir Henry.
The climax, the high point of action within the novel, comes when the
hound appears out of the fog in pursuit of Sir Henry. All the events have
been building towards this moment, when it is discovered that the descriptions
of the hound are accurate, Sir Henry’s life is hanging in balance, and
Stapleton, knowing that now it is clear beyond a doubt that it has been
him behind the legend, runs for his life. The climax is magnified by the
lack of action before and after that moment-Watson, Lestrade, and Holmes
sitting around waiting, and then, following an unsuccessful attempt to
find Stapleton, Watson and Holmes chatting back at their apartment.
The major outcome, the way events are left at the end of a novel, is
that Stapleton is dead, though this cannot be more than an assumption
since his body was never found. Sir Henry is recovering mentally by traveling
about with Dr. Mortimer. Holmes and Watson have since had a couple of
other successful cases.
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McCauley, Kelly. "TheBestNotes on The Hound of the Baskervilles".
. 09 May 2017