Characterization of Mr. Jack Stapleton in Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles

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Characterization of Mr. Jack Stapleton in The Hound of the Baskervilles
Authors use the four methods of Characterization to develop and describe characters in their story by using the narration and the thoughts of other participants to show how the character looks, behaves, and sounds. In The Hound of the Baskervilles, author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle utilizes Characterization to bring to life the antagonist of the story, Mr. Jack Stapleton.

Normally, an author uses physical appearance to intimate the personality of the character. In Doyle's book, the narrator describes Mr. Jack Stapleton’s physical appearance: “He was a small, slim, clean-shaven, prim-faced man, flaxen-haired, and lean-jawed, between thirty and forty years of age, dressed in a gray suit, and wearing a straw hat. A tin box for botanical specimens hung over his shoulder and he carried a green butterfly-net in one of his hands.” (Doyle 89) While reading this it is impossible to detect the evil in Mr. Stapleton. Doyle uses the calm façade of Mr. Stapleton to trick the reader into thinking that there is nothing odd or malevolent about him yet he is a scheming manipulative villain. One cannot judge simply by outward appearance, for his looks deceive the reader which is why other methods are used to determine a character.

A character's speech, thoughts and actions can reveal more about who they are and their personality. For example in Doyle’s book, Mr. Stapleton’s actions and words show his personality more explicitly, ‘” But, dear me what’s this? Somebody hurt? Not—don’t tell me that it is our friend Sir Henry!’ He hurried past me and stooped over the dead man. I heard intake of his breath and the cigar fell from his fingers. ‘Who—who is this?’ he stammered ‘It is Seldon, the man who escaped from Princetown.’ Stapleton turned a ghastly face upon us, but by a supreme effort he had overcome his amazement and his disappointment.” (187) This makes Stapleton’s character more understandable by...
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