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

Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia, Chapter Two

I only caught a glimpse of her at the moment, but she was a lovely woman, with a face that a man might die for.

In chapter two of A Scandal in Bohemia, we are fully introduced to Irene Adler. Doyle is clearly focusing on the character’s beauty. As a result, Adler’s beauty is to her advantage. Without doubt, she is well aware of her attraction and that men are turning their heads; even Sherlock Holmes and Watson are commenting on her beauty.

She has turned all the men’s heads down in that part. She is the daintiest thing under a bonnet on this planet.

One main theme we can look at in this novel is feminism. We need to consider the fact that A Scandal in Bohemia was published in 1891. During that time, male dominance was still an issue. Don’t forget, the late 19th century was the beginning of women’s rights, the suffrage movement. When researching about this case, it was said that Doyle was against the movement and did not support the suffragettes, which made a lot of sense. As an anti-suffragist, his opinions are clearly shown in his novels. Sherlock’s observations suggest that women are ‘secretive’ and have their own specific traits. Beyond any doubt, this came from Doyle’s concepts about women.

Women are naturally secretive, and they like to do their own secreting.

When a woman thinks that her house is on fire, her instinct is at once to rush to the thing which she values most. It is a perfectly overpowering impulse, and I have more than once taken advantage of it.

However, there can be another side to this story. Even though Doyle depicted specific women traits, he has created a unique woman who was ahead of her time. Not only is Adler described as a beautiful woman, but it was also written that she had the ‘mind of the most resolute of men.’ Having a mind of a man during the 19th century was rare and unacceptable. This meant that Adler was a determined, clever and independent woman, which is definitely shown in this novel.

When it comes to Sherlock Holmes, he is obviously very good at his job. He cleverly disguises himself to meet and trick Irene Adler into thinking that he was hurt, in order to gain access into her house. Hence, Dr. Watson admires Sherlock for his clever disguises and plans to fool the enemy. It can be said that throughout Doyle’s novels, Sherlock Holmes was the master of disguise.

His expression, his manner, his very soul seemed to vary with every fresh part that he assumed. The stage lost a fine actor, even as science lost an acute reasoner, when he became a specialist in crime.

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1 Comment

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

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