Sherlock Holmes is the hero of this tale, and its most popular character. From other stories, readers would have known that Holmes is methodical, intelligent, analytical, observant, and reserved. In this novel, he also reveals his ability to match his brooding, thoughtful nature with immediate action. Willing to deceive or mislead others if necessary, Holmes is and antisocial and impersonal fellow who nevertheless comes off as charming and ultimately moral.
The narrator of the story and Holmes's closest friend, Dr. John Watson performs more of the detective work in The Hound of the Baskervilles that he does in many other Holmes stories. Though observant, Watson lacks Holmes's imagination and analytical ability. Without a doubt, he is firmly devoted to Holmes, and eager to please him. He is generally more sensitive to the feelings of others than Holmes is.
Dr. James Mortimer, the man who employs Holmes for this case, lives out on the moor and was a close friend of Sir Charles. Though a man of science (he is interested in the study of skulls), he somewhat accepts the legend of the hound because of a lack of evidence to the contrary.
Sir Charles Baskerville is the figure whose death inspires the investigation. A nervous and philanthropic man, Sir Charles was well-loved amongst the moor population. He believed in the legend of the hound, a belief which his murderer used to scare him to death.
Hugo Baskerville is the long-deceased Baskerville whose treachery and wickedness supposedly inspired the curse of the Baskervilles. As the legend tells, he trapped a woman in his house, and then chased her when she escaped; he was in turn chased by a demonic hound that ripped his throat out and then haunted his descendants.
Sir Henry Baskerville is the nephew of Sir Charles Baskerville, and heir of the Baskerville estate and fortune. He shows himself to be bold, practical and straightforward, but also impatient, hasty and stubborn. Though not initially superstitious, he later grows anxious over the legend.
Miss Beryl Stapleton is the woman believed to be Stapleton's sister, but who is actually his wife. Though less wicked than he is, she has been his accomplice for a long time, having used the alias Mrs. Vandeleur. She tries to warn Sir Henry to flee the moor, but is unsuccessful partly because he falls in love with her.
Mr. Jack Stapleton, a "naturalist" who studies butterflies and plants out on the moor, presents himself as an eccentric but is actually the mystery's insidious villain. Born Rodger Baskerville, he has used several aliases in the past, including Mr. Vandeleur, and once managed a school. He is discovered to be a nephew of Sir Charles Baskerville, meaning he is therefore Sir Henry's cousin.
Cartwright is a boy who helps Holmes run detective errands. He not only helps Holmes with the investigation in London, but joins him out on the moor to bring him food and drink.
Mr. Barrymore is the butler of Baskerville Hall, and the man who discovered Sir Charles's body after he died. He and his wife have worked at Baskerville Hall for a long time. Though Barrymore seems secretive and sneaky, Watson discovers he is only employed in aiding his wife's brother Selden, and Barrymore ultimately provides crucial evidence to the investigation.
Mrs. Barrymore is Barrymore's wife, and Selden's sister. Watson remarks that she seems to cry often.
Selden is a convict who has escaped to the moor from the nearby prison, Princetown. Mrs. Barrymore's younger brother, Selden is presented as a depraved creature beyond reform.
Old Frankland is an old man who lives on the moor and enjoys causing legal trouble for his neighbors through frivolous lawsuits. A natural voyeur who uses his telescope to spy on others, he is also the miserly and indifferent father of Laura Lyons.
Laura Lyons is Old Frankland's daughter and Stapleton's mistress. Unhappily married to but separated from a cruel husband, she is promised help by Sir Charles, but then manipulated by Stapleton to help cause the former's death. She lives in Coombe Tracey, a town near the moor.
Lestrade is a police detective who comes to the moor when Holmes believes there is enough evidence available to arrest Jack Stapleton. He represents the official law, and frequently appears in Holmes stories.
The only possible witness to Sir Charles's death, Murphy is a gipsy-horse dealer who lives out on the moor. He was drunk at the time of the murder, and can testify only to hearing cries.
The Hound of the Baskervilles Questions and Answers
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Though ostensibly partners, Watson and Holmes have a much more multi-faceted relationship. Watson admires Holmes, and clearly yearns for the detective's approval. He is more than willing to do what Holmes asks of him, whether it be deducing facts...
Don't use te word clever, a genius indeed! Remember from the first book made by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The Study in Scarlet. He has keen eyes! He noticed the mud from Dr. Watson shoes and his fractured leg when they're at the hospital laboratory....
The Hound of the Baskervilles study guide contains a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
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