Father Gascoigne is a Hunter who is on the brink of beasthood.
Father Gascoigne is a hunter of beasts operating in and around the city of Yharnam. In the world of Bloodborne; "Father" is a title used for clerics in a foreign land, and there is no such rank in the Healing Church, and yet Gascoigne clearly goes by that title. This may be because he came to Yharnam from a foreign land, like the player character, perhaps as a patient seeking treatment, or a religious acolyte following the scent of miracles.
Whether raised in Yharnam or coming from a foreign land, Gascoigne would eventually join the Healing Church hunters to take on the onus of the hunt. Perhaps when he joined he was motivated by glory and fame, emulating the ancient Holy Blades; a line of heroes dating back to the very early age of honor and chivalry.
When hunting Gascoigne was paired with a quiet and taciturn old hunter known as Henryk. Henryk wore a unique yellow garb that protected against Darkbeasts and favoured throwing knives as a means of distracting attackers and keeping them at bay. Together they were a gallant and fierce duo, perhaps Henryk acting as the brains of the operation and Gascoigne as the brawn.
While Henryk wore his unique yellow garb, Gascoigne favoured the black robes of the Healing Church. These Church Hunters wore the Holy Shawl of the Church proudly on their backs, and focused on prevention of the scourge by disposing of victims, and even potential victims, before signs of sickness manifest themselves.
From all accounts Gascoigne and Henryk were powerful and successful hunters. Their fame must have spread, and they must have garnered admirers. Their description as gallant may not only refer to their bravery but also a certain charming attentiveness; a chivalry towards women. There was one women in particular who caught Gascoigne's eye: Viola.
The bright-red brooch is a jewel made of a blood droplet, inscribed with the name Viola. It was given to her by a hunter who clearly found this gem while on the hunt, and set it aside for her.
"M-mum wears a red jeweled brooch.
It’s so big and.. and beautiful."
- Young Yharnam Girl
Gascoigne gave this brooch to Viola, perhaps during their courtship, and she continued to wear it through the birth of their first and second daughters. Gascoigne's garb tells us that he would eventually part ways from the Healing Church. We can only speculate as to the reason for this, but perhaps it had something to do with the family he had begun. The life of a hunter is inescapably dangerous, and while it may be fine for a young man without cares and responsibilities to put his life on the line each night, a man like Gascoigne with a wife, and two young daughters must be there for those he loves. Perhaps by calling himself Father Gascoigne, he is making a play on words; as Father to his two daughters he is giving himself a new title, something to separate him from the Church, something to remember his responsibility.
If not because of his parenthood and responsibilities, perhaps Gascoigne parted ways with the Church when he discovered the truth; that the beasts he had slaughtered were people just like him, even hunters who had served with the same fervor he did.
"Beasts all over the shop…
You'll be one of them, sooner or later…"
- Father Gascoigne
This truth may have eaten away at Gascoigne, such that he could no longer do the Church's bidding. The Holy Shawl he had once worn proudly around his neck became dingy and unkempt, the black robes pungent and unwashed.
Gascoigne appears to have been a loving father. His youngest daughter will tell the player:
"I love you almost as much as mum and dad and granddad!"
Showing that there was love in their household. But his nights out on the hunt and the stench of the blood had taken a toll on Gascoigne.
Mature blood cocktail that releases a pungent odor when thrown that attracts blood-thirsty beasts.
A precious tool in sadly short supply.
In Yharnam, they produce more blood than alcohol. as the former is the more intoxicating.
- Pungent Blood Cocktail description
The blood of Yharnam was no ordinary blood. In his bloodlust, his family would find that Gascoigne sometimes forgot them altogether. To remind Gascoigne of his love for them, Viola would play him a lullaby from a small music box, a song shared by Viola and Gascoigne. Within this music box there is a small scrap of paper containing an old message, signed by Viola and Gascoigne. The Young Girl tells the player that this music box plays one of Gascoigne's favorite songs. Perhaps this box was played for Gascoigne as he grew up, or perhaps the small message within contains a writ or promise the two made to each other. When hearing the tune, even when he is all but lost to beasthood, Gascoigne will still pause, being stunned by whatever it reminds him of, clearly a powerful connection to his family.
Perhaps he never stopped, or perhaps he returned later when he could no longer keep away from the pungent blood that eats away at him, telling his wife and children he was doing it to protect them, but either way; Gascoigne continued to hunt. With gray hair and his old attire, now only reminiscent of the Church's gear, having been away for so long, Gascoigne and Henryk once again began to join the hunt.
"What's that smell?
The sweet blood, oh, it sings to me.
It's enough to make a man sick…" [laughs]
- Father Gascoigne
But no matter their pasts, beasts are no more than beasts. Some choose take up their axe to play the part of executioner. Gascoigne hunted each night, and eventually he began to fall apart, until one day he didn't come home. Racing against time, before darkness overtook the land, Viola went out to find her husband, leaving her two daughters to look after the house. What happened next is unclear. It is strongly implied that in her haste, Viola forgot the music box and without it, Gascoigne was unable to recognize her, turning on and then murdering her. We find Viola's body nearby where Gascoigne feverishly hacks apart corpses, muttering to himself in a delirium. Gascoigne appears to have lost the ability to differentiate between friend and foe, turning on the player, another hunter, when they approach him.
The ensuing battle reveals just how far down the path of beasthood Gascoigne has traveled. He will eventually almost complete the transformation into a scourge beast, finally letting go of the willpower that bound him and revealing his "true form". If one were to listen carefully after defeating him in his beastform, you can hear Gascoigne scream "forgive me", as if in his final moments he has remembered all that he has lost, and just what he has done.
Eileen will congratulate the player later on, on having taken care of Gascoigne:
"You must have killed Gascoigne as well then.
He was falling apart… I'm sure it had to be done.
But try to keep your hands clean… The Hunter should hunt Beasts.
Leave the hunting of Hunters, to me."
It would seem that whether by the player's hand or someone else's, Gascoigne was too far gone to be redeemed. A once powerful figure, brought low.