What is the role of the moor in The Hound of the Baskervilles?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The bleak and desolate moor provides an excellent setting for this weird tale. The description of the landscape establishes a mood that haunts the entire story. It is an ideal place for the murderer to set his hound on his victims, since they have nowhere to run or to hide. It is a good place for the escaped convict to hide. It is a good place for Sherlock Holmes to camp out while he is observing the whole situation. It provides a great setting for the finale when Sir Henry decides to walk back to his home after dining with the Stapletons. In a more settled and populated area people would be likely to see the hound. As it was, people only knew about the hound through legend. Stapleton wanted his hound to be thought of as a supernatural creature, so that it could frighten victims to death, or at least frighten them so badly that they would put up no resistance. Stapleton needed secrecy and isolation for the kind of crimes he wished to commit. Also, the moor was the place where he finally met his doom.


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