Classics, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia, Chapter I

Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia


Holmes is hired by the King of Bohemia to recover blackmail evidence, held by the woman whom the king once promised to marry, but who he abandoned for a woman of noble birth.

I shall start my critique by reviewing one of my favourite authors, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I have always treasured Sherlock Holmes novels. It is a classic that you should always read at some point in your life, regardless if you’re not a fan of the genre. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of short stories, twelve to be precise. I begin with A Scandal in Bohemia, chapter one.

To Sherlock Holmes, she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen…. And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.

Perhaps one of the greatest opening lines in a novel. The readers are mysteriously introduced to ‘the woman’, known as the infamous Irene Adler. Oozing in beauty and seduction, she is also a rather cunning and intelligent lady. Yet by blackmailing the King of Bohemia, the readers are shown a ruthless side. Despite only appearing in A Scandal in Bohemia, Irene Adler has certainly remained a significant character in the series.

You do not know her, that she has a soul of steel. She has the face of the most beautiful of women, and the mind of the most resolute of men.

Aside from Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson plays an important role. Dr. Watson is the deuteragonist, better-known as the ‘sidekick’. He is a foil for Holmes. Doyle has cleverly created two completely different minds, working together to solve a mystery. As a foil character, Dr. Watson makes Holmes a genius. By not observing, he enhances the brilliance of Holmes’s mind.

You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.

Dr. Watson is the main narrator of the Sherlock Holmes novels, to be exact he is a peripheral narrator. As a deuteragonist, He brings his own point of view to the books. At times it’s a rather biased view; some say he can be an unreliable narrator. Without doubt, he certainly admires Sherlock Holmes. He compliments Holmes multiple times by informing readers that he has ‘extraordinary powers’. In Watson’s mind, Holmes is ‘the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen’. Perhaps this is why Holmes and Watson work so well together; with compliments like that, you’ll never want to lose your companion.

Ultimately, I come to our protagonist, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. The character that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously created. Holmes’s process of deductions has always astonished Dr. Watson, and you can certainly tell that Holmes enjoys his deductions. Truth be told Holmes is a loner. Loathing society, he makes very little friends, and takes delight in the uses of cocaine. However, he greatly accepts the accompany of Dr. Watson by introducing him as a friend and colleague to his client, the King of Bohemia.

…Holmes, who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings in Baker Street, buried among his old books, and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition, the drowsiness of the drug, and the fierce energy of his own keen nature.

Next Chapter


  1. Pingback: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia, Chapter II | The Literary Boutique

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