In A Study in Scarlet, it seems to us that Hope had spent so many years of planning and plotting to avenge his lover Lucy Ferrier. However, there is a possibility that he killed Drebber and Stangerson because he refused to give in and accept the fact that they had ruined his engagement.
When he got back to Salt Lake City, Lucy had already married to Drebber. Nonetheless, he did not plan to elope or have a runaway with her. It is skeptical that he did not look for Lucy immediately. Instead, he “strode off down the gorge and so away into the heart of the mountains to the haunts of the wild beasts” (Conan Doyle 107), heading to nowhere. If he was so in love with Lucy, he would have gone to find her right away when he knew that she was forced to marry Drebber. On the other hand, the author described him as more “fierce” and “dangerous” than the beasts. I doubt if he was in rage only for Drebber ruining his engagement and marrying the woman he loved. I also expected that he was sorrowful more than angry because Lucy had married a guy who did not love her at all and only aimed at her father’s properties. Until a month after the marriage of Drebber and Lucy, when Lucy pined away and died, Hope reappeared on the day before her funeral all of a sudden. Again, I expected that he would have at least taken her body with him and buried her at somewhere else. However, what he did was just kissed her, took away her wedding ring and then fled. Interestingly, the wedding ring appeared again in a later chapter. Hope “held the wedding ring in front of his eyes” and forced him to think of Lucy before he died (Conan Doyle 119). I suspect that the ring was being symbolized as Lucy by Hope. He used this ring to tell Drebber that he could never take her away from him. In this man-to-man war, Drebber has lost and he was going to die. In conclusion, Hope is a man with a strong possessive personality and his revenge is only a tool mainly to fulfill his urge to kill people who had blocked his way.