A Study in Scarlet

Jefferson Hope Character Analysis

The antagonist and murderer of the case Holmes focuses on during A Study in Scarlet, Hope was originally an adventurous silver prospector who fell in love with Lucy Ferrier, who became his fiancée. After Lucy and John Ferrier’s deaths due to the actions of the Mormons in general and Enoch Drebber and Joseph Stangerson in particular, Hope becomes obsessed with revenge and spends two decades pursuing the two men. Though he eventually achieves his revenge against Drebber and Stangerson, Hope’s obsession leads him to his own destruction, for his prolonged periods of self-neglect as he pursues revenge destroys his health and causes the rupture of his aortic aneurysm.

Jefferson Hope Quotes in A Study in Scarlet

The A Study in Scarlet quotes below are all either spoken by Jefferson Hope or refer to Jefferson Hope. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Observation and Deduction Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of A Study in Scarlet published in 2001.
Part 2, Chapter 6 Quotes

“It don’t much matter to you why I hated these men,” he said; “it’s enough that they were guilty of the death of two human beings — a father and a daughter — and that they had, therefore, forfeited their own lives. After the lapse of time that has passed since their crime, it was impossible for me to secure a conviction against them in any court. I knew of their guilt though, and I determined that I should be judge, jury, and executioner all rolled into one. You’d have done the same, if you have any manhood in you, if you had been in my place.”

Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:
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Let the high God judge between us. Choose and eat. There is death in one and life in the other. I shall take what you leave. Let us see if there is justice upon the earth, or if we are ruled by chance.

Related Characters: Jefferson Hope (speaker), Enoch Drebber
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2, Chapter 7 Quotes

“…It is an open secret that the credit of this smart capture belongs entirely to the well-known Scotland Yard officials, Messrs Lestrade and Gregson. The man was apprehended, it appears, in the rooms of a certain Mr Sherlock Holmes, who has himself, as an amateur, shown some talent in the detective line, and who, with such instructors may hope in time to attain some degree of their skill. It is expected that a testimonial of some sort will be presented to the two officers as a fitting recognition of their services.”

“Didn’t I tell you so when we started?” cried Sherlock Holmes, with a laugh. “That’s the result of all our Study in Scarlet; to get them a testimonial!”

“Never mind,” I answered; “I have all the facts in my journal, and the public shall know them.”

Related Characters: Sherlock Holmes (speaker), John H. Watson (speaker), Jefferson Hope, Lestrade, Tobias Gregson
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:
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Jefferson Hope Character Timeline in A Study in Scarlet

The timeline below shows where the character Jefferson Hope appears in A Study in Scarlet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 7: Light in the Darkness
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Revenge and Murder Theme Icon
...put handcuffs around his wrists. Holmes introduces the man to the room as “Mr. Jefferson Hope, the murderer of Enoch Drebber and of Joseph Stangerson.” Hope frees himself from Holmes and... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2: The Flower of Utah
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
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...a tall, young hunter, recognizes her as John Ferrier’s daughter and introduces himself as Jefferson Hope, the son of one of Ferrier’s friends in St. Louis. After Lucy invites him to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3: John Ferrier Talks With the Prophet
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
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It has been three weeks since Hope left, and Ferrier reflects on his daughter’s upcoming marriage. While Ferrier is sad to lose... (full context)
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...Lucy, but she has already overheard Young’s orders. Ferrier decides to send a message to Hope that he should return as soon as possible, and tells Lucy that they’ll have to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4: A Flight for Life
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Lucy tries to calm her father down, assuring him that Hope will return soon. In desperate need of advice, Ferrier reflects on their situation, knowing that... (full context)
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The numbers go down to 4 and 3, causing Ferrier to lose all hope in Hope’s arrival. Nevertheless Ferrier would still rather die than allow his daughter to be dishonored. On... (full context)
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While Ferrier prepares his daughter for their journey, Hope packs up the food and water. Hope explains that they would have to leave immediately... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5: The Avenging Angels
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...next day, making their way through a rocky ravine. Though they see no one else, Hope urges them to continue moving, as their pursuers may be tracking them. The next day... (full context)
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Hope calls out to warn them of his approach, but he hears nothing in return. When... (full context)
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Realizing that there is nothing he can do, Hope wishes that he were dead, but soon abandons his despair in favor of vengeance, as... (full context)
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
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Hope then leaves for the mountains and lives in the wilderness. Within a month, Lucy dies,... (full context)
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To the contrary, the need for revenge possesses Hope, whose “mind was of a hard, unyielding nature.” Yet Hope is practical and realizes that... (full context)
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Years later, Hope finds the men at last in Cleveland, Ohio, but Drebber recognizes him and has Hope... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6: A Continuation of the Reminiscences of John Watson, M.D.
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The narrative shifts to the present, where Hope is recounting his story. Recognizing his powerlessness, Hope does not resist any further and appears... (full context)
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Hope begins by saying that the men he killed were responsible for the deaths of a... (full context)
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One night, however, Hope followed the men from the boarding house to the train station. He heard the men... (full context)
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Hope followed Drebber and watched him go in and out of liquor shops before taking a... (full context)
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At this point, Hope breaks from his narrative, claiming that he did not intended to kill Drebber “in cold... (full context)
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Returning to his story, Hope claims that he saw John and Lucy Ferrier smiling at him as he was about... (full context)
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During this encounter, Hope’s nose had been bleeding, and on a whim he decided to write “RACHE” on the... (full context)
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After killing Drebber and Stangerson, Hope continued to drive his cab until a youngster asked for him by name, requesting his... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7: The Conclusion
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Hope, Gregson, Lestrade, Holmes, and Watson had all been told to appear before the magistrates on... (full context)
Observation and Deduction Theme Icon
Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
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...murderer was taking revenge for a private wrong over a woman. He also deduced that Hope was red-faced because of the way the blood splatters matched his footprints. Afterward, Holmes inquired... (full context)
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Injustice and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
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...now he had enough information to enlist his “street Arab detective corp” to find Jefferson Hope’s cab. Holmes concludes his explanation by describing his solution as “a chain of logical sequences... (full context)