The Roles of Women and the Differences in Lifestyles in A Scandal in Bohemia and The Speckled Band

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The Roles of Women and the Differences in Lifestyles in A Scandal in Bohemia and The Speckled Band

‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ and ‘The Speckled Band’ are two short detective stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They are set in England in the mid 19th century. Both of the stories are narrated by Dr Watson, who is one of the main characters. The other main character is Sherlock Holmes and he is an amateur detective. Both stories have a main female character and I am going to compare these female characters by looking at their personalities and the circumstances in which they live in. In ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’, Irene Alder is the female character and she is a retired Opera singer. Helen Stoner, a
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Although she is ‘retired from the operatic stage’, she was the ‘Prima donna Imperial Opera of Warsaw’.

Irene Alder is a very wealthy woman who has obviously earned a lot from being an opera singer. She has a big house that has a ‘large sitting room on the right side, well furnished with long windows almost to the floor’. Irene is kind and tender hearted towards Sherlock Holmes and takes him into this house when he is supposedly injured. Dr Watson describes ‘the grace and kindliness with which she waited upon the injured man’.

Irene Adler is not just very talented, she is also clever. Twice she has outsmarted the King of Bohemia – ‘twice she has been waylaid. There was no result’. She also manages to get the better of Sherlock Holmes and this is probably the only time that a lady has managed to do that. As well as being clever, she is also cunning. The King himself tells Sherlock Holmes that there ‘are no lengths to which she would no go – none’. We know that she is even prepared to blackmail, but only after falling in love with Godfrey Norton, she keeps the photograph, but ‘only to safeguard’ herself. She is a very romantic person. She says that she ‘loves and is loved’. This shows that it is more important to her than money or social standing.

Helen Stoner is quite different from Irene Adler. She is a very timid woman but this may be because she is very
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