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The Hound of the Baskervilles - dramatic techniques

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Introduction "The Hound of the Baskervilles" was first published by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1901 where it was printed chapter by chapter in the Strand newspaper. It was well written for a newspaper, as the chapters were left on a cliff-hanger which makes you want to read the next edition. Only a year later the novel was printed in the form of a novel by "Newnes" a well known book publisher at the time. The narrator of the story is Doctor Watson and is told entirely from his point of view, although the author regularly switches from straight narrative to diary form also letters home. It is in chapter 2 when a hint of fear is first introduced into the novel. Doctor Mortimer reads the legend of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" to both Sherlock Holmes and Watson. This legend is written in a very old and archaic fashion, and uses very vivid language. It is within the legend where fear is started with the revellers reaction to the Hound "Their skins turned cold" also "Raised hair upon their heads" The same part also states that of the men that died that night the rest were "broken men for the rest of their days" As the chapter continues along with the legend we begin to get told descriptions of the hound. These add to the fear by giving the hound larger than life features, almost supernatural "blazing eye... ...read more.


Half way through the chapter the suspense of the mystery's increases as Watson and Sir Henry investigate who is regularly wandering around the hall at night only to discover that it is Barrymore, Signalling to someone on the moor using a candle. After some interrogation Barrymore's wife Eliza appears at the door to reveal the truth, "my unhappy brother is starving on the moor". She then advises he is no other that "Seldon the criminal". This section adds to the fear as it reminds us this criminal is at large and how dangerous he could be to the inhabitants of the moor. As both Watson and Sir Henry step out onto the moor to capture the escaped convict, the author refers back to the second chapter when Sir Henry states How about that hour of darkness when the power of evil is exalted?" At this part of the chapter the fear reaches its peak as the "rising Howl" breaks the silence of the night. This continuous groan has several physical effects on the pair, in particular Sir Henry "his face glimmered white through the darkness" also "a break in his voice which told of the sudden horror that had seized him". This heightens the fear as it shows the legend appears to be coming true, much to Sir Henry's horror. The discovery of the existence of the hound is augmented by the discovery of Seldon, a sheer evil man who is described with animal like characteristics, "a terrible animal face" also "small canning eyes". ...read more.


They hear a thud, and think the worst - is it Sir Henry now murdered? The discovery of a body spread-eagled face down on the edge of the cliff provides the ultimate climax of fear. The discovery of Sir Henry - dead with a crushed skull, turns the fear to heavy sadness. However, when they return to retrieve the body later, relief is felt as they discover that the body is in fact that of Seldon, the convict, dressed in Sir Henry's cast off clothes. Any eerie alertness again returns as someone approaches Watson & Holmes, only to discover it is Stapleton. This only adds to Watson's suspicions that Stapleton is plotting to kill Sir Henry, as Stapleton tries to hide his delight then disappointment, at what was believed to be Sir Henry's demise, only to find the dead convict dressed in his clothes. Concern hangs around the scene at the safety of the two detectives in his company. He further incriminates himself by revealing his invitation to Sir Henry to call on him that night. Finally he questions if they had heard the legendary hound howling. Watson & Holmes do not reveal that they had heard such a noise. When they all disperse in the night to return home, Sherlock & Watson walk together to Baskerville Hall. Interestingly it is still night, with a recent "murder" yet they seem completely at ease walking across the moor. It seems strange that the level of fear of the unknown "murderer" is not maintained to the end of the chapter - an air of calmness is portrayed. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 of 8 ...read more.

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