Sir Arthur Conan Doyle portrays the villains in the Sherlock Holmes stories with different personalities, characteristics, and intentions. Some are evil, anti-social; others seem to be more unusual. The villains from “The Speckled band” called Dr Roylott and Hugh Boone from “The Man with the Twisted Lip” are both portrayed in different and similar ways. Roylott is described as ‘Huge, tall, large faced, with deep set bile shot eyes’ and Hugh Boone is described as a “crippled beggar”. In the Speckled band Dr Roylott is shown as a violent, blunt and an aggressive character character instantly suggesting to the reader that he is villainous is able to do more than just being violent. Holmes discovers “five little livid spots, the marks of four fingers upon the white wrist” when his stepdaughter was at his house. This shows that Dr Roylott has dangerous and cannot be trusted. Not only there were marks but they were also livid emphasizing he is violent.
However, Hugh Boone is completely opposite to him and is described as a “hideous” and “crippled wretch”, which creates an instantaneous aversion of the man for the reader. Particularly in Boone’s portrayal, the author uses very effective language and vocabulary to create an image. The reader then gets a clear representation in their head of this ghastly beggar, alongside the description of the den, gives the sense that he is innocent. The two villains contrast in each other as one is a stereotypical villain and the other is more naive. Both villains are portrayed as clever people who have mysterious plans. Holmes inspects the room next to Dr Roylott and after the mystery is solved they realised that he had trained the snake and he carried out his plan that it was almost impossible to solve showing that he is clever to cover his track, prepared by placing a dummy rope and a ventilator. Also the bed “was clamped to the floor” showing he was clever enough to clamp the bed in case she moved it.
Hugh Boone is shown clever by him saying this “Knowing that my wife would be terribly anxious, I slipped off my ring and confided it to the lascar at a moment when no constable was watching me, together with a hurried scrawl, telling her that she had no cause to fear.” This shows he was clever enough to give a letter to his wife to stop her causing more trouble, place a ring with the letter to prove it was him, and to do it when no constable was looking. Dr Roylott is portrayed as an intimidating and someone who is not afraid of anyone. When he barged into Holmes house he snarls “don’t you dare to meddle with my affairs…I am a dangerous man to fall foul of, see that you keep yourself out of my grip”. As mentioned before, it is from this brief encounter that Roylott has managed to escalate himself to the top of the suspect list. Afterwards, he says, “My stepdaughter has been here I have traced her. What has she been saying?” When Roylott doesn’t acquire the information he is seeking he ‘screams furiously’ repeating the question. It was at this point that the reader becomes suspicious of his involvement in the mystery.
Everything that Roylott threatened after this just added to the certainty of his involvement in the crime. Doyle uses very threatening language whenever Roylott is around, this is to add to the villainous character that he upholds. Doyle’s use of descriptive language also helps the reader to gather a picture of Roylott, as he gives a very shady and distinctive description. Hugh Boone however is very secretive and afraid he is discovers. He keeps all his plans secret even from his wife. He is afraid that if the police, his wife or his children find out that he will be exposed. To express this he says “I would have endured imprisonment, ay, even execution, rather than have left my miserable secret as a family blot to my children” when he is discovered. Dr Grimsby Roylott and Hugh Boone have the same intention as each other, and are shown that they are both in need and greed for money through crime.
Hugh Boone becomes “a professional beggar” and Dr Roylott, kills his stepdaughters “within a fortnight of the day which had been fixed for the wedding, the terrible event occurred which has deprived me of my only companion.” just before their marriage so he does not need to give money to the groom. This shows that both villains were performing crimes for money. To conclude, both villains have similarities and differences but the same intention. Dr Roylott and Hugh Boone both end up being victims. Dr Roylott end up being killed by his own snake that he trained to kill Helen Stoner and Hugh Boone is arrested for suspicion of his own “murder”.
Dr Roylott’s description makes the reader want to know how the crime occurred however, Boone’s description make the reader want to know ‘whodunit’ and how they did it. The Speckled Band has an obvious villain right from the very start Dr. Grimsby Roylott. The Man with the Twisted Lip does not have such a clear villain but a mere suspect the beggar, Hugh Boone, he at the moment is the only suspect due to the fact he was the only person at the scene where Mrs. St. Clair saw Neville St. Clair disappear. Without such a distinct culprit it leaves the reader with little to judge on and makes them want to continue reading the book to find out how the case develops and who the perpetrator is.
Courtney from Study Moose
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