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Compare and Contrast: Hound of the Baskervilles

By heatherscott10 Apr 21, 2013 767 Words
Heather Scott
Professor Sevart
English Composition 101

Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, author of Hound of the Baskervilles, was born on May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Doyle’s were a prosperous Irish-Catholic family, who had a prominent position in the world of Art. Charles Altamont Doyle, Arthur's father, a chronic alcoholic, was the only member of his family, who apart from fathering a brilliant son, never accomplished anything of note. There was little money in the family and even less harmony on account of his father's excesses and erratic behavior. Arthur's touching description of his mother's beneficial influence is also poignantly described in his biography, "In my early childhood, as far as I can remember anything at all, the vivid stories she would tell me stand out so clearly that they obscure the real facts of my life." After Arthur reached his ninth birthday, the wealthy members of the Doyle family offered to pay for his studies. By 1876, graduating at the age of seventeen, Arthur Doyle, With his innate sense of humor and his sportsmanship, having ruled out any feelings of self-pity, Arthur was ready and willing to face the world and make up for some of his father's shortcomings. Despite his abnormal up rearing, Doyle became a legendary author and his writings became inspirations for many films about Sherlock Holmes.

In his original novel, Doyle describes Mr. Jack Stapleton as a thin, bookish looking man who’s temper is uncontrollable in certain situations. His violence in the book however differs greatly from his violence in the film. In the book, Mr. Stapleton threatens his wife to go along with his devious plot, but never lays a hand on her until she discovers he has brought the beast to their home. Once she has seen this, she threatens to reveal his diabolical plans and he quickly reacts by tying her up and gagging her that way she can make no noise. As shown in the film, when they are at the party together, Mrs. Stapleton wishes to no longer be a part of his schemes and he grabs her by the neck reminding her that he is in charge of her decisions and that they must finish the plans together. That next day Mrs. Stapleton had obvious bruises on her neck from his grip. Also in the film, towards the end the detectives find Mrs. Stapleton hanged rather than tied up. His hostility towards Holmes is also different in the movie from the book. In the book, he keeps control of himself when he discovers the beast has killed the wrong man and that Holmes is, in fact, in London. In the film, Mr. Stapleton becomes very anxious when he realizes Holmes is no longer at the party and he fears that he may be snooping around. Indeed, Stapleton finds Holmes raiding through his personal belongings and is instantly hostile. Towards the end of the movie, when Holmes is caught in the quicksand of the moor Mr. Stapleton, after fighting with Holmes and Watson, he returns to end Holmes life with a single shot. In the book, he always avoided confrontation with Holmes because he found him superior to himself.

A second comparison between the book and film would be Mr. Stapleton’s jealousy throughout the storyline. AS he struggles already with controlling his temper, it becomes too much when he sees his wife, whom is pretending to be his sister, speaking intimately with Sir Henry. Not only does this increase his want to kill him, but gives him greater reason too because without Sir Henry in the way, Jack Stapleton becomes the next heir to the Baskerville inheritance. In the book, he keeps most of his jealousy hidden other than the bit that is obvious to Watson at dinner. In the movie, Stapleton seems to take out his jealousy and anger out on Mrs. Stapleton until he has the right time to release the Hound on Sir Henry. His jealous behavior shines through clearly in the movie because you can see Stapleton’s facial expressions towards Sir Henry. He sees him as a threat to the money that, according to him, is rightfully his own. This hostility leads to slip ups in his planning making it easier for Holmes to figure out that Stapleton was the enemy all along.

As goes with every good novel, the movie always depicts characters differently and most of the time the books do a far better job. Author Conan Doyle is, and always will be known as the man who created the legend of Sherlock Holmes.

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