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In What Way Is Sherlock Holmes The Embodiment Of Victorian Ideas Of Progress?

1709 words - 7 pages

In What Way Is Sherlock Holmes The Embodiment Of Victorian Ideas Of
Progress?

“I had no keener pleasure than following Holmes in his professional
investigations, and in admiring the rapid deductions, as swift as
intuitions, and yet always founded on a logical basis, with which he
unravelled the problems which were submitted to him.”

The Victorians valued ‘professional’ scientists that were able to make
‘rapid deductions’ to solve mysteries and to research new medical
cures. The Victorian era was full of new discoveries and new thoughts
and theories that changed England and the world. Darwin’s Theory of
Evolution, Fleming’s discovery of Penicillin, the Industrial
Revolution, and Joseph Lister’s invention of Chloroform, are just a
few examples of world-changing occurrences in the Victorian era.
Holmes is like a scientist in many ways. He too uses forensic methods
of investigation like a scientist, and also uses scientific tools,
such as a convex lens. Holmes unravels myths with his ‘swift
intuitions,’ like many other scientists of the time, such as Darwin.

Holmes was created by Conan Doyle at around the same time as Darwin
was putting together his Theory of Evolution. Holmes is an embodiment
of the Victorian era’s preoccupations and reflects with the scientific
advances made at the time. He uses methods and equipment that are
similar to that of a scientist and is a good representation of a
real-life scientist. Holmes is able to make quick deductions in order
to solve any problem brought to him, a trait that all great scientists
possess. Sherlock Holmes demonstrates all of these qualities on more
than one occasion in The Hound of the Baskervilles.

At the time of the story’s composition, the Victorians were becoming
aware of new scientific theories, and the intellectual and scientific
revolutions. The Victorians were sceptical of these theories in the
beginning because they undermined cherished views of Victorian
contemporary thought, and undermined the thoughts of millions in the
country and the world. An example of a controversial theory is
Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Darwin made huge breakthroughs with his
methodical and scientific approach to problems, undermining the myth
of creation. Both Darwin and Holmes made amazing advances and
unravelled myths to alter the thought process of the Victorian people.
Darwin used hard evidence and a scientific explanation to replace the
myth of creation with his theory, which helped to convince many people
who were sceptical at first.

Darwin’s theory began to be accepted in the Victorian world because he
did a huge amount of research to make sure that there were no holes in
his theory. This meant that, despite tackling the most sensitive
subject at the time, God, he was taken seriously and people read his
ideas and some influential men were convinced. Darwin attempted to
destroy the myth of creation, which stated that the world was created
in just six...

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