The Hound of the Baskervilles

Significance of Setting in The Hound of the Baskervilles College

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles (HOB), Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are immersed in a setting that appears to transcend the known limits of the physical world. A demoniacal hound roaming the moors of Devonshire is rumored to have been responsible for the death of the affluent Sir Charles Baskerville. Dr. Mortimer, a family friend, is left no choice but to recruit the renowned detective and his partner to investigate the case. The narrative, recounted through Dr. Watson’s perspective, soon abandons the familiarity of Baker Street in exchange for the ghastliness of Baskerville Hall and its vicinity. Upon Watson’s arrival, Dartmoor proves to be every bit as ominous as it was hyped up to be. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle uses the valuable tool of location throughout to leave open the possibility that there are crimes beyond the scope of rational analysis.

The setting first asserts itself when, in the midst of presenting the details of the case to Holmes, Dr. Mortimer reads aloud the myth of the Baskerville curse. One could have easily mistaken the piece for an excerpt from a Gothic novel, for it is ridden with the genre’s elements. The reader learns Hugo Baskerville of Baskerville Manor ruthlessly abducted the...

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