sillouette of a person wearing a mining helmet that shines a light off to the side

King Solomon's Mines

by H. Rider Haggard

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Student Question

What is Gagool's appearance in King Solomon's Mines?

Expert Answers

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Towards the end of chapter 10, Gagool is described as an "old woman . . . supporting herself with a stick." She is also described as a "frightful, vulture-headed old creature, bent nearly double with extreme age." Words like "creature" and "vulture" suggest that Gagool doesn't look quite human. The author also emphasizes her age, referring to her twice as "old" and once as "nearly bent double." In short she is described as a stereotypical crone, or hag character. Her unpleasant physical appearance indicates an unpleasant, sinister character.

Also in chapter 10, Gagool is described as "looking for all the world like an animated crooked stick, her horrid eyes gleaming and glowing with a most unholy luster." The simile here comparing Gagool to "an animated crooked stick" suggests that she has a very thin and angular body. The reference to the "crooked stick" also again emphasizes her age. Language like "horrid" and "unholy" compound the impression, noted above, of a sinister character.

In chapter 15, Gagool is described, by Ignosi, as the "mother of evil." Ignosi also says that Gagool is "so old thou canst no longer love thy life." He then says that she "hast no shape, nor form, nor hair, nor teeth . . . naught, save wickedness and evil eyes." Again here the stereotypical hag or crone character is implied. The last quotation also indicates that Gagool's most defining physical characteristic are her "evil eyes."

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