Free Literary Criticism for The Hound of the Baskervilles |
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Stapleton had dictated the letter to Sir Charles under the premise of getting money for her divorce. Then he apparently changed his mind, insisting that he would find someway to pay for it himself and dissuading her from keeping the appointment. When news of Sir Charles’s death came out, Stapleton kept her quiet out of her feelings for him and fear of the suspicious circumstances. She never had any intention of harming Sir Charles.
Holmes and Watson leave Mrs. Lyons after her confession and meet Lestrade at the station. Then they all have dinner, before Holmes’s plans for uncovering “[t]he biggest thing for years” gets underway.
“Evil indeed is the man who has not one woman to mourn him,” notes Watson. In this chapter, Mrs. Lyons tells the truth about Stapleton, understandably upset over his failure to tell her the truth about himself. Though she may still have some feelings for him, it is unlikely that she will mourn him when he meets his end in the next chapter. Neither will his wife, who laughs and claps at the news.
With this evilness, it may seem odd that Stapleton is so often compared to fish (pike in particular) and butterflies, creatures that do not typically represent wickedness. These animals seem to have been chosen since they both dart about, avoiding nets. They are caught sometimes though, and usually displayed, as Holmes mentions will be the (metaphorical, of course) fate of the naturalist. Additionally, one rarely thinks of fish or butterflies as being particularly evolved, and Stapleton bears a remarkable resemblance to Hugo Baskerville, despite the 242 years (see also notes on atavism from Chapter One).
Holmes draws attention at the beginning of the chapter by his repetition to the mention of metals in the book. The paneling in Baskerville Hall (the color) and the swords of Neolithic man are bronze. Iron is used throughout, from Dr. Mortimer’s walking stick and the Hall gates to Holmes’s character. Lastly, Stapleton has now twice been described as being worthy of steel.
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McCauley, Kelly. "TheBestNotes on The Hound of the Baskervilles".
. 09 May 2017