Social Sensitivity

The Hound of the Baskervilles depicts the kinds of individual disorientation that are created by social disorder. For instance, love is perverted by evil in the novel. Selden, the notorious Notting Hill murderer, uses his sister’s love to evade the law. Stapleton uses his own wife to lure Sir Henry Baskerville to his doom. He pretends love and offers marriage to Laura Lyons in order to persuade her to entice Sir Charles into a dark walkway where he meets the Hound itself. All who encounter these evil lovers are endangered because their relationships are as confused and misleading as the narrow paths of Grimpen Mire. Sir Henry in particular is tempted by the allure of another man’s wife and is left with a disordered mind at the novel’s end. But the steady, clear light of reason, as embodied by Sherlock Holmes, works throughout to pierce the chaotic darkness and unmask the sources of evil.

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