How are Heroes and Villains Presented in ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? In ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’, Sherlock Holmes, a famous detective, has to face and unveil a number of villainous plots, the first of which being ‘a scandal in bohemia’, where for the first and only time Irene Adler, the villain, get the better of Holmes and out foxes him. Sherlock Holmes was created in the Victorian era by Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes’ sidekick Doctor Watson is not as clever as Holmes and Holmes is clever, cunning and witty. He seems to get every misty solved except for that of Irene Adler.
The first mystery I am going to write about is that of ‘The speckled band’. In this story the Villain, Dr Roylott seems like the usual villain. He is described as ‘A large face with a thousand wrinkles.’ This shows he has seen and done a lot of things he may regret and that he is old and wise. He was clever and watched everything and was always aware. ‘While his deep set, bile shot eyes and a fleshless nose, gave him a resemblance to a hawk.’
He is very aware and knows what he is doing. However Sherlock Holmes recognises this fact and he says ‘When a Doctor goes wrong he is the worst type of criminal, he has nerve and he has knowledge.’ Sherlock Holmes is clever and recognises his enemy’s weakness, his temper. ‘He stepped swiftly forwards and seized the poker and bent it into a curve with his huge brown hands.’ The reason Roylott wants to murder his step daughters is explained by Holmes. ‘Each daughter can claim an income of two hundred and fifty pounds, in case of marriage. It is evident therefore that if both girls claimed their money he would be left with a mere pittance.’ He is a greed man and would do anything, even murder his step daughters to keep his money.
Mr Rucastle from ‘The Copper Beaches’ is similar and different in many ways to Doctor Roylott. He is described as ‘A comfortable man’ with ‘a smiley face’. At first he seems kind and generous. However he does make threats ‘your in my power’ implying that he could do to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson whatever he wanted, including being able to hurt them. The similarities are that they both kept dangerous animals that ended up hurting and in one case, killing the owner. ‘Diamond shaped head and a puffed neck of a loathsome serpent’. It also says he (Dr Roylott) had a ‘Passion for Indian animals.’
Mr Rucastle calls his dog, ‘my mastiff’ and he also says ‘God help the trespasser whom he lays his fangs on’. Both stories involve the villain’s daughter or step daughter who was about to be married. However they had different motives for stopping their daughters getting married. Doctor Roylott was for money and Mr Rucastle was because he did not want to lose his daughter. Mr Rucastle was an obsessive man who didn’t want to let his daughter go. So in some ways he was trying to do what he thought was the right thing, he was trying to protect her. In the end he paid for his deeds ‘Mr Rucastle survived but was always a broken man kept alive solely through the care of his devoted wife.’ This was after the attack by the Mastiff. Sherlock Holmes said this about Mr Rucastle ‘I tell you that he is a very clever and dangerous man.’
Irene Adler is the only villain to out wit Holmes in the whole of these short stories. Notably she is also the only female villain. She isn’t like a normal type of villain because her motive is the fact that she does it for fun, not for money or personal gain. She is also different because she does not look like the usual villain because she is beautiful. ‘The face of most beautiful of women’ and she has the ‘soul of steel’ which implies that she is very clear with her decision making and strong hearted. Sherlock Holmes admires her sense of determination and how hard she works. ‘In his eyes she eclipses and culminates the whole of her sex.
She toys with Holmes and makes him look like and idiot. ‘Holmes beaten by a women’s wit’, this was very unusual in Victorian times, as women were seen as more inferior to men. The whole plot of the story ‘The scandal in Bohemia’ is about the men verses women argument. Sherlock Holmes throughout the whole book portrays an image of intelligence and cleverness. He is calm under pressure and always has a clever back-chat answer to all threats.
For example when Doctor Roylott came to visit. ‘He stepped swiftly forwards and seized the poker and bent it into a curve with his huge brown hands.’ Holmes answer to this was to laugh at the threat. ‘I am not quite so bulky, but if he had remained I might have shown him that my own grip was not much more feeble than his own. As he spoke he picked up the steel poker and with a sudden effort straightened it out again.’ He is also very observant. In ‘The Scandal in Bohemia’ he talks to Watson. ‘You see but you do not observe.’
I conclude that on the whole the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes shows the common villain. Mean, horrible and harsh, however there are some exceptions for example, Irene Adler and at the beginning of ‘The Copper Beaches’ Mr Rucastle. Sherlock Holmes is the perfect hero who is calm, clever and cool; he even has a sidekick doctor Watson. How are Heroes and Villains Presented in ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? I conclude they are presented predictable but there are some exceptions.