In "The Boscome Valley Mystery," who is the supposed antagonist? By the end of the story, the antagonist could be the murder victim himself. Explain.The antagonist could turn out to be the murder...

In "The Boscome Valley Mystery," who is the supposed antagonist? By the end of the story, the antagonist could be the murder victim himself. Explain.

The antagonist could turn out to be the murder victim himself. Explain how this could be true.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout "The Boscome Valley Mystery," young James McCarthy is the suspected antagonist, the murderer of his father. He is suspected because (1) he was the last to see the victim, his father, and (2) he says that he deserves to be arrested, though he claims to be innocent of the murder. James is in custody awaiting a hearing (the assize) and Holmes is following leads.

It turns out that the murdered man, McCarthy, was in a gang of six robbers in Australia. Turner was also one of the gang members. It so happened that when Turner came back to England McCarthy found out and, being a very unscrupulous person and hardened criminal, McCarthy threatened and blackmailed Turner. Turner gave in, that is until McCarthy's last request. The last request was that Turner's daughter Alice marry James McCarthy. Turner refused. McCarthy and Turner quarreled. McCarhy was killed. Turner would have confessed if James McCarthy had been convicted.

McCarthy, the murdered man turns out to be the antagonist because (1) he was a hardened criminal and robber from Australia, (2) he was a blackmailer and (3) he was trying to force his blackmail victim to give up his daughter to an unwanted marriage. In this way, the murdered man is the antagonist of the story.

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Conan Doyle

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