Scandal in Bohemia, Gender Roles Essay

893 Words Oct 4th, 2012 4 Pages
Scandal in Bohemia, Gender Roles

In "A Scandal in Bohemia," by Arthur Conan Doyle, society places women at an inferior level pushing them to the background therefore never allowing us, the reader, to know them, except for Irene Adler who shows the gender shift of the time period by becoming the main character in Sherlock Holmes investigation and the story. "A Scandal in Bohemia" speaks about the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his adventure in retrieving a damaging photograph for a king from his ex-mistress. In the society Watson describes, the role of women is of little to no importance except for emphasis that focused on the Kings mistress Irene Adler.
In this society, women were the nurtures and the protectors of the children
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Rather than surrendering to the trickery of Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler outsmarts him using his own tricks and makes her escape right under his nose. The narrowly defined roles of women were evident for the only means to discuss women in this story is through their relations with men. No woman, not even Irene Adler, has her own story. After all in the end, even Irene Adler runs away with a man. Out of the five female characters mentioned or referred to in this story, only one is given a name and a personality. This lack of female representation shows how dominant males were in the society of the story and in the society of the real world.
Irene Adler exemplified the massive shifts in gender roles that were occurring during this time in many ways other than becoming the main character in the story along with being feared of having too much power by the men. Throughout the story there were many hidden examples of how Irene Adler was the main character of how the roles of gender were changing drastically in the period of this story. Adler is the character of changing gender roles which is revealed through a division of female physiology and male psychology. The king remarks that “she had the face of the most beautiful women and the mind of the most resolute men”. She also freely crosses gender barriers by wearing men’s clothing, confessing that “male costume is nothing new to me. I often take advantage of the freedom which it gives.” Adler’s active
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