In “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” by Arthur Conan Doyle. There are many different villains all with similar characteristics but with key differences. These villains are presented in various ways and all bring something new to the stories. In ‘The Speckled Band’ we are introduced to Dr Grimesby Roylott. Right from the start it is plain that he is a fearful man. He follows the pattern for stereotypical villains. His very appearance is ‘marked with an evil passion’. He is intimidating as he is described as ‘so tall his hat actually brushed the cross bar of the doorway’. This follows a very typical pattern for villains as they often are scary and intimidating and this makes him seem more villainous. We know he is cunning as well from the description of his appearance when he is described as resembling ‘a fierce bird of prey’.
This shows he is cunning as birds of prey are usually very cunning and clever. Also it also tells gives us an idea of how fierce he can be. He is also a very strong man which adds to the intimidation as we know he is clearly ‘a dangerous man to mess with’. We know he does not care about how other people see him and possibly enjoys being the ‘terror of the village’ having ‘no friends at all, save the wandering gypsies’.
The way he speaks show confidence as he believes that he induces fear as he tells Sherlock to ‘keep out of my grip’. His actions speak louder than words though as he is a very violent and ‘often uncontrollable in his anger’. This is shown when he ‘hurled the local blacksmith’. Showing his strength and inability to control himself. He uses his actions to emphasize his point that he is dangerous as he ‘seized the poker from the fire and bent it into a curve’. He believes by showing his strength he can scare Holmes from ‘meddling’ in his affairs.
In ‘The Copper Beeches we meet a very different villain to Roylott. Mr Rucastle follows a very different type of villainy relying entirely on his cunning and intelligence in order to outwit those who would try to stop him. Unlike Roylott when we first meet Rucastle it is unclear that he is the villain. He seems very friendly and pleasant and doesn’t seem to follow many stereotypes for villains as he is ‘A prodigiously stout man with a very smiling face and a great heavy chin.’
He is not intimidating and acts very pleasantly in order to hide his villainous qualities. We can tell from the way he is described that he is very good at appearing like a perfectly good person. However he perhaps overacts it and gives a lot away from this. As upon hearing about his proposition to Miss Hunter, Holmes says how ‘no sister of his should have ever accepted such an offer’. However none the less he covers his motive well enough to still appear quite friendly. However he changes quite drastically later on in the story.
When he becomes annoyed he is a completely different person going from ‘smiling in the most pleasant fashion until his eyes were just to shining slits’ to being so angry that ‘his cheek were red, his brow was all crinkled with anger and the veins stood out on his temples with passion.’ This shows a totally different side of Rucastle which shows his true villainy. However he is very cunning and attempts to hide it and even ‘spoke in a jesting tone’ although no matter how he tries he is unable to suppress his rage as ‘there was no jest in his eyes’. This is a demonstration of how he is keen to hide his villainy and how although he has been able to do this up until this point we know he is clearly very annoyed as he was unable to hide it this time. However he does then show himself as a villain fully with no attempts to hide it as ‘In an instant his smile hardened into a grin of rage’.
This shows that he is keen to get his point across and wants Miss Hunter to know that although he appears to have been kind and friendly up until know he is very serious and extremely angry and does not want her in the turret. Even going as far as too threaten to ‘through her to the mastiff’. During the most part he tries to hide what makes him a villain with very friendly actions. He told her ‘some of the funniest stories she had ever heard’ and spent most of the time ‘smiling in the most amiable manner’. This shows just how good he was at covering up his darker side.