Women In A Scandal In Bohemia And King Solomon's Mines

Decent Essays
In both Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s, A Scandal in Bohemia (1891), and H. Rider Haggard’s, King Solomon’s Mines (1885), male figures utilize the femme fatale image of the “monstrous feminine” to concretize or reaffirm views of a dominant patriarchal power (OED). Specifically, characters such as Sherlock Holmes and Allan Quartermain, subsequently attempt to debase the influences of female manipulation and superiority. The expression of this thematic trend occurs primarily through the tension of ignorance versus insight, and the recurring images of dehumanization. As such, these tropes express within each text the attempts of men to degrade women’s inherent authority.

When considering Irene Adler, from A Scandal in Bohemia, and Gagool, from King Solomon’s Mines, the tension of ignorance versus insight is essential in preliminarily introducing the characters’ position within the femme fatale role. Just as a “femme fatale” is by definition “a woman, who destabilizes male control,” both Adler and Gagool use their exclusive access to information to subvert male desires and boundaries of class (OED). For instance, Irene Adler exploits her possession of “compromising letters and photographs” to blackmail the King of Bohemia and so, “ruin (him)” by jeopardizing his marriage to another woman (Doyle, A Scandal in Bohemia). Thereby, she exemplifies the image of the femme fatale by threatening the monarchy’s stability with issues of scandal while, alternately, ensuring that her
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