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A Comparison And Contrast Of Sherlock Holmes As A Criminal In “Charles Augustus Milverton” And “A Scandal In Bohemia”

2012 words - 9 pages

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote both “Charles Augustus Milverton” and “A Scandal in Bohemia” in which he portrayed the infamous Sherlock Holmes as both a criminal and a detective. These dueling roles Holmes plays within the stories is unique for characterization of any character. The introduction of “A Scandal in Bohemia” illustrates Dr. Watson visiting Sherlock Holmes, as a casual friendly encounter, when a client enters with the gravest of problems. The client is a wealthy king, who has recently become engaged to a princess, but has had a previous affair with the beautiful and cunning Irene Adler. Miss Adler is in possession of pictures of the king in a compromising position, and she Miss Adler is threatening to send the scandalous pictures to the king’s perspective in-laws. The king quickly tasks Holmes with finding and destroying the pictures Miss Adler is in possession of, to protect the king and his new fiancée from embarrassment. In order for Holmes to acquire the pictures, he must con Miss Adler into letting him into her home and tricking her into showing in the location of the pictures, making Holmes a criminal in the short story (Doyle 11-25).
In Doyle’s short story “Charles Augustus Milverton,” Sherlock Holmes again participates in criminal activity by breaking and entering into someone’s home with the intention of stealing documents. In this short story, Lady Eva Blackwell contacts and employs Holmes to steal indecent letters she had previously written to a former lover, from a man blackmailing her for money. The man blackmailing Lady Eva Blackwell is Charles Augustus Milverton, who is a blackmail specialist currently, blackmailing several people around town for large sums of money! While Holmes and Watson are inside of Milverton’s home stealing the letters for Lady Blackwell, the pair witnesses the murder of Milverton over the result of revealing secrets from a unsuccessful blackmail attempt of another lady. The duo does not intervene in the murder sense, and flee the shortly after the murder is committed (Doyle 145-161).

Sherlock Holmes as a character is so well written, that readers imagine and picture Holmes as a real detective and even attempt to learn from the famous detective. Richard Gregory writes that Holmes, as a character, is so real that the character teaches life and scientific lessons, stating that, “the importance of small but significant clues for seeing was suggested to me years ago by Sherlock Holmes” (152). Sherlock Holmes is described by Stanton O. Berg as the father of scientific crime detection, and possessing of universal appeal (446). Since Holmes is well written and considered the ultimate master of crime detection, popular media portrays him as cunning and genius in his methods of crime detection.
The method Doyle used in creating Holmes is exquisite, with O. Berg stating “A review of the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels will quickly reveal the wide spectrum of scientific methods...

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