The Sign of the Four


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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The Sign of the Four Characters

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes, the story’s protagonist, is the infamous detective and occupant of 221b Baker Street. He has a supreme, almost superhuman intelligence that allows him to solve difficult cases. This intelligence is based on his… read analysis of Sherlock Holmes

Dr. John Watson

Dr. Watson is the narrator of the story and Sherlock Holmes’ loyal assistant. He is a doctor by profession and has a background as a surgeon in the British Army. Over the course of… read analysis of Dr. John Watson

Miss Mary Morstan

Miss Morstan comes to Sherlock Holmes to see if he can help her find out what happened to her father, Captain Morstan, who disappeared a few years previously. She has also been receiving a… read analysis of Miss Mary Morstan

Athelney Jones

Athelney Jones is the hapless detective from Scotland Yard, the official police agency. He is described as a fat and bumbling man and is in a position of high authority. He functions as a counter-example… read analysis of Athelney Jones

Jonathan Small (The Wooden-Legged Man)

Jonathan Small is the wooden-legged man who seeks vengeance on Major Sholto for the theft of the Agra treasure. He is one of “the four” original men who acquired the treasure. He has lived… read analysis of Jonathan Small (The Wooden-Legged Man)
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Tonga is a native of the Andaman Islands who was aided by Jonathan Small when suffering from ill health. This made him feel a sense of loyalty towards Small, which explains why he accompanies him… read analysis of Tonga

Thaddeus Sholto

Thaddeus Sholto is one of Major Sholto’s sons, brother to Bartholomew Sholto. He is an eccentric character with an anxious manner. Thaddeus is the one who decides to contact Miss Morstan, feeling… read analysis of Thaddeus Sholto

Bartholomew Sholto

Bartholomew Sholto is one of Major Sholto’s sons and lives at the family home, Pondicherry Lodge. Thaddeus Sholto, Bartholomew’s brother, takes Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and Miss Morstan to Bartholomew with the… read analysis of Bartholomew Sholto

Captain Morstan

Captain Morstan was an officer in the British army who served in India. He is Mary Morstan’s father, and his unexplained disappearance is the catalyst for the novella’s plot. He was friends with Majorread analysis of Captain Morstan

Major Sholto

Major Sholto is the father of Bartholomew and Thaddeus Sholto and was a friend to Captain Morstan, with whom he served in India. Jonathan Small relates how he brought Sholto into the Agra treasureread analysis of Major Sholto


McMurdo is the doorman at Pondicherry Lodge, the Sholto family home. When Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Miss Morstan and Thaddeus Sholto arrive, he is unwilling to let anyone but Thaddeus into the house (under… read analysis of McMurdo

Abdullah Khan

Abdullah Khan is an Indian man and one of the signatories of “the sign of the four” and the man who told Jonathan Small about the Agra treasure. The plan to kill the merchant… read analysis of Abdullah Khan
Minor Characters
Mrs. Forrester
Mrs. Forrester employs Miss Morstan as a governess, but the relationship between the two women is more like that of close friends than employer and employee. Dr. Watson visits her home to give the two women information about the case and remarks upon its sanctuary-like qualities.
Mordecai Smith
Mordecai Smith is the proprietor of the Aurora boat and is portrayed as a common, working-class man. He agrees to help Jonathan Small and Tonga escape but is apprehended when Sherlock Holmes and his entourage run the boat aground.
Mrs. Hudson
Mrs. Hudson is the landlady and housekeeper at 221b Baker Street, the famous London address of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. She shows concern for Holmes when he grows increasingly agitated at the irresolution of the case.
Mrs. Bernstone
Mrs. Bernstone is the housekeeper and Pondicherry Lodge, the family of the Sholtos. When Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Miss Morstan and Thaddeus Sholto go to Pondicherry Lodge, they encounter a distressed Mrs. Bernstone who is worried that Bartholomew Sholto has not been out of his room all day.
Mahomet Singh
Mahomet Singh is an Indian man and one of the signatories of “the sign of the four.” He colluded with Jonathan Small, Abdullah Khan and Dost Akbar to seize the Agra treasure.
Dost Akbar
Dost Akbar is an Indian man and one of the signatories of “the sign of the four.” He lures the merchant—the man who is carrying the Agra treasure—into the trap set by the other men.