• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What do we learn about the Victorians' attitude to crime from a reading of Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'?

Extracts from this document...


Mahmoud What do we learn about the Victorians' attitude to crime from a reading of Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'? In the Victorian era, society was made up of two types of classes; they were the aristocrats and the poor. Aristocratic people were very well educated, thought that they were caring and thought that they were not criminals but they were sometimes villains. Aristocrats were hypocritical; they thought they were moral. Poor people were often badly educated, and rich people thought the poor people were criminals. In the Victorian times, the general feeling of where crime took place was in the poor areas but Conan Doyle suggests that not only the poor areas were the places where crime flourished so was the countryside; the countryside becomes symbolic of both man's goodness and danger. The Charles Darwin theory was suggesting that the human race was good but we had another side, the beast side. Its like 'Jeykell and Hyde'. Charles Darwin suggests that we're not pure, we're not evil, we're twilight and we're in between good& evil. He also tries to explain why people do such horrible deeds. Sir Hugo Baskerville is symbolic of 'the beast and evil in man' and he represents Darwin's theory of the beast of man that apes evolved into humans. He has an animalistic violence. He shows cruelty and ruthlessness towards people. This is from the bestial side of the brain. He uses more beast side than human side so he becomes totally insane and loses control. ...read more.


He should be pitied because he is corrupted in prison so he doesn't know what is right and what is wrong. To society he is a dangerous villain, to his sister he is child who has lost his way. His heart has total darkness in him but inside that darkness there is little bit of light trying to show, like 'Pandora's box' when Pandora releases all the evil then she seals hope. Pandora told hope She would never let hope go, but hope says it would be a grave mistake so she released hope. Pandora is Selden; the sins are the darkness in his heart and hope is the light in his heart. Conan Doyle deliberately doesn't give us any information in the novel about his crimes. Perhaps he is doesn't tell us preciously about the nature of the crime but, it's possible it's a murder. His demise also illustrates the way the poorer classes were made into scapegoats and there was little value attached to their lives. This shows, always give a second chance to criminals because it's not them, it's their bestial side. His longing to get out of the country and begin anew implies that many lower class criminals had simply become embroiled in crime against their better nature. The description of his close bond with his sister, Mrs Barrymore, also suggests that criminals were ordinary people who had simply gone astray but the Victorians' lack of compassion meant he was treated as an outcast. ...read more.


The Victorians' attitude to crime was ruthless to people who committed crimes particularly murders. Crimes carried out could be caused by the influence of family background, how these people were treated as youngsters; for example in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles,' Rodger Baskerville was regarded by his brother as useless, incompetent, a bit of a fool and was removed from the family. Later his son known in the story as Stapleton wants revenge on the family for what he sees as the betrayal of his father- Rodger. Of all characters in the story, I find that Stapleton is the most interesting because he is not a pure villain in my opinion. He wants to avenge his father which is probably a good reason but he goes about in the wrong way, for example scaring Sir Charles to death and wanting to kill Sir Henry. In my opinion the meaning of this book is we are not purely good or evil; we are twilight or in between such as 'The Darwin Theory' on the beast in man. Another meaning is always give a second chance to everyone. Sherlock Holmes' attitude to crime is not to show mercy and not to be forgiving. Watson, on the other hand, is good, forgiving and always tries to give the enemy a second chance. Watson and Holmes are like two-sides of a coin; they are different yet they make one whole. Holmes and Watson would not be as good crime solvers as they are if they were with anyone else. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Conan Doyle section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Conan Doyle essays

  1. Sir arthur conan doyle atmosphere in hound of the baskervilles

    Comparing the scenery and the mood, as when travelling it seems to the reader that the closer they get to Baskerville Hall the further they get from safety. Also the closer they get the less peaceful it gets, as the moor is described as "noisy" and "roaring".

  2. Hound Of The Baskervilles

    thoughtless and may do cruel things with no motive such as kidnapping the maiden as we are told about in the manuscript. Stapleton is another vicious character that is significant in the novel. He is first introduced into the storyline around chapter 8.

  1. Analyse Conan Doyle's "The Hound of the Baskervilles" exploring how the author uses the ...

    From this central block rose the twin towers, ancient, crenulated, and pierced with many loopholes. To the right and left of the turrets were more modern wings of black granite. A dull light shone through heavy mullioned windows, and from the high chimneys which rose from the steep, high-angled roof there sprang a single black column of smoke."

  2. Hound of the Baskervilles

    Although, if you look at it from another perspective the hound could be the strange creature from out of this world. There are many different ways of looking at this case, this is why Doyle is successful in keeping the reader in suspense, because the reader does not know who

  1. The Hound of the Baskervilles - dramatic techniques

    Despite this she denies meeting him, an air of deep intrigue is developed in the novel yet again heightening he fear. Later in the chapter the author again captures his reader's interest by developing another atmosphere of dreadful unknown following the discovery of "the ragged uncouth figure" walking stealthily across the moor.

  2. Why do you think Conan Doyle's crime

    Speckled Band" while Sherlock Holmes is in Helen Stoner home he and Dr Watson closes examine the house, "It looks newer than the other things?", "Yes, it was only put there a couple of years ago." Holmes sees a bell and finds out that is it farley new from the other furniture's in the room.

  1. Pre-1914 Literature Arthur Conan Doyle

    (This was extracted from 'The Scandal of Bohemia'). Whereas they viewed men as intelligent and rational thinkers: "his mind was so absolutely concentrated on the matter before him that a question or remark fell unheeded upon his ears, or at the most provoked only a quick, impatient snarl in reply (This was extracted from 'The Boscombe Valley Mystery').

  2. In the beginning of my second story, written by Charles Dickens, The Signalman, the ...

    The fact that a story being told in the third person and not by someone in the story, has quite a dooming affect, as it makes the reader think that the characters could have taken a turn for the worst under strange circumstances and their lives may have ended mysteriously...

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work