The Role of Women in Doyle´s A Scandal in Bohemia Essay

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Doyle's A Scandal in Bohemia follows the story of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes on his adventures to retrieve a disgraceful photograph of Irene Adler and the King of Bohemia. The king, now engaged to a different woman, is fearful that Adler may use the photo as blackmail. In A Scandal in Bohemia, the apparent role of women is minuscule. The only female emphasis is on one woman, who is the object of Holmes' detective inquiries. In A Scandal in Bohemia, society places women at a subordinate level, pushing them to the background and therefore never allowing the reader to fully understand their character. Watson describes women as second-class citizens at the start of the story without directly saying so. Watson comments: “My own …show more content…

The King also fears the revelation of the scandalous photograph simply because it lies in the hands of a woman. His interests to dominate this woman, Irene Adler, are evident in the callous actions the King directs towards her. The King states, "Five attempts have been made. Twice burglars in my pay ransacked her house. Once we diverted her luggage when she traveled. Twice she has been waylaid. There has been no result" (218). This disdain and oblivion towards Adler's privacy leads one to reassess the King's motives. Is he actually interested in the photograph or do his actions focus solely on hurting Irene Adler? The King wants the upper hand on this beautiful, yet extremely intelligent woman. The King's attitude towards his future wife and his former lover, Irene Adler, fits into society's narrowly defined roles of women. In British Victorian society, women were the nurtures and the protectors of the children, and what some deemed as only monetarily valuable items. This female instinct to nurture is one stereotype that is greatly reflected in the personality of Irene Adler. Adler’s willingness to help is a quality that Watson, as well as other men in society, felt all women should possess. Watson acknowledges this nurturing tendency when he says, "but I know that I never felt more heartily ashamed of myself when I saw the beautiful creature against which I was conspiring, or the grace and kindliness with which she

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