Free Character Analysis for The Hound of the Baskervilles |
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Mr. Jack Stapleton
First of all, Stapleton represents the corrupting influence of money and power. He killed Sir Charles, attempted to do the same to Sir Henry, and likely committed several other crimes, all in the pursuit of an inheritance and quick money. Stapleton even had to leave South America because of stealing money.
Along with that is the theme of dehumanization. In the face of material goods, Stapleton treats everyone from his wife to his victims with the same disregard. To illustrate the point, he comes to collect “Miss” Stapleton in a manner similar to his pursuit of insects. Even the hound, already a vicious creature, becomes even wilder in his hands.
Perhaps the most complex and important part about Stapleton is the interplay within his character of crime and science (making him an interesting foil for Holmes, who is also a combination of those). On the one hand, he is a serious entomologist, but on the other hand, he uses what he gains from this to aid in his murders. Also, throughout the book, there are connections between the net Stapleton uses for his insects and the ones Holmes is using to catch him, as well as the one between his collections and the box of cases.
As the antagonist, Stapleton is essential to the plot and outcome of the story. It is his crime that initially intrigues Holmes, and his continued skill at executing it, that holds the detective’s interest.
The Baskerville family
This old line provides the contrast to Holmes when it comes to belief in the supernatural. They take the curse very seriously, to the point that previously Dr. Mortimer suggested Sir Charles get away from the moor for awhile and Sir Henry’s normally independent nature is tamed by Holmes’s warnings and the sound of the hound. Baskerville Hall itself fits in well with the rest of the moor, as still connected with the old ways of thought.
Furthermore, there is the matter of family connections. Stapleton is remarkably similar in attitude and appearance to his father Rodger and the wicked Hugo. This suggests that while the property and money are passed down, certain other things are as well. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is also in reference to these bad relatives.
Dr. Mortimer, The Barrymores
Dr. Mortimer is important in that he brings the case to Holmes and relays all the background facts. Though his character continues to appear intermittently, it is at the beginning that he has the greatest impact on the plot. Also, his cane, when deductions are made from it, provides a good introduction to Holmes’s methods.
The Barrymores are similarly important characters in the plot. Selden, and their mysterious activities dealing with him, makes for a nicely misleading subplot, drawing Watson’s suspicions to them for awhile.
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McCauley, Kelly. "TheBestNotes on The Hound of the Baskervilles".
. 11 May 2008