The Hound of the Baskervilles | Study Guide

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Course Hero, "The Hound of the Baskervilles Study Guide," May 4, 2017, accessed December 9, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Hound-of-the-Baskervilles/.

The Hound of the Baskervilles | Character Analysis

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Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is a private investigator with a renowned reputation all over the world. He rejects all superstition and zealously believes in the powers of observation and deductive reasoning. He will stop at nothing, not even deception, to solve a mystery. Holmes is typically unflappable and reserved yet shows his sense of humor and irony when bantering with his friend and sidekick, Dr. John Watson. Though physically absent in much of this story, his influence looms large, and in the end it is his contribution to the investigation that cracks the case.

Dr. Watson

Dr. John Watson is a London physician who has assisted and collaborated with Sherlock Holmes on many cases. Always accommodating and full of awe for his crime-solving friend and mentor, he is often wrong in his take on the clues where Holmes is right. Watson takes the lead in this case, traveling to Devonshire without Holmes to examine the evidence and investigate the cast of suspects. Stumbling along as he tries to apply Holmes's analytical methods, he functions as a stand-in for the reader.

Sir Henry Baskerville

Sir Henry Baskerville returns from Canada, where he has lived most of his life, to continue his uncle's work in restoring Baskerville Hall. At first he approaches the legend of the Baskerville hound with the lightheartedness of youth, yet the mysterious events at Baskerville Hall wear him down. Smitten with Beryl Stapleton, he is upset that neither she nor her brother appreciate his advances. While he is not immoral or belligerent, he shares a sense of entitlement with his lecherous and violent ancestor Sir Hugo, whose wicked behavior brought on the Baskerville curse.

Jack Stapleton

Jack Stapleton is a naturalist more adept at catching butterflies than at demonstrating social skills. He shows his dangerous temper over Sir Henry's advances toward his sister, Beryl, who turns out to be his wife. He debunks the Baskerville legend, yet in fact he uses the story to terrorize Sir Charles and Sir Henry as he tries to kill off heirs to the Baskerville fortune so he can claim it for himself. Feared by his wife, he shows many similarities to his violence-prone and philandering ancestor Sir Hugo.

Beryl Stapleton

Beryl Stapleton both loves and fears her husband, yet she turns against him when she learns of his plan to kill Sir Henry. Her warnings to Sir Henry are ultimately successful as they caught the attention of Sherlock Holmes. Both her husband and Sir Henry stake claims on her without her full consent, which suggests that her plight is a modern version of the maiden's fate in the Baskerville legend.

John Barrymore

John Barrymore is a mysterious yet loyal servant to his late master, Sir Charles Baskerville. He and his wife are shrouded in mystery as they engage in clandestine moves to take care of the escaped convict, who is also Mrs. Barrymore's brother. While a possible suspect, Barrymore is also a treasure trove of vital information that helps solve the case. He is also a representative of a new class of entrepreneurial servants who aim to emancipate themselves.

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