Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a famous author of the Victorian times, born in 1859 and lived until 1930 when it was in the late Victorian ages. He wrote many stories and among his writings he established a character in the name of Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a consequence of the Victorian society and therefore we can say he was a product of his age and this is shown in his stories on Sherlock Holmes.
There are a lot of aspects in which we can look at to see what affected and influenced his writings which were immensely liked by the people of that age. Some examples of these ideas are, detective fiction, women’s role in the society, being a gentleman, avoiding scandal, crime the British Empire, xenophobia and sciences of the Victorian age. At that time crime fiction genre was at its infancy, by this I mean that it was just introduced to the public recently. The first person who started writing crime fiction was Edgar Allen Poe who wrote the very first detective story “murder in the Rue Morgue” in 1943. Therefore Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was affected by authors before him such as Edgar Allen Poe and Wilkie Collins.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle expresses the fact “science of deduction” to make the reader more interested, because science was something very new at those times, and there for deduction and detection was new too, this was also due to the fact that the police force was at its early stages, since the force was introduced around 1829 and this was about fifty to seventy years later. A very big aspect of Sherlock Holmes stories explain about the women in the society at the Victorian times. Women were not main characters, after they introduce the problem in the story, they fade away, not very drawn as characters but used as catalysts to the cases, they introduce the problem of the story but then it is always left to the men to solve it, there for there is also a fact that women are helpless. Another aspect of women shown in the stories is the fact that women are emotional.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle often thought that women have less strength but they are more emotional than men because in both stories “The Speckled Band” and “The man with the twisted lip” the ladies at the beginning are “terrified manner” as Conan Doyle expresses Helen stoner and “lost her self control and sobbed upon by wife’s’ neck” he explained Kate Whitney’s emotions when she entered Dr Watson’s house. Women were also known as “timid” and “week” because in the stories women do not dare to act upon deduction themselves. Therefore men were known as calm and gentle and completed their duty with no scandal and this behaviour was known to be good in the society.
Men were called gentlemen and this is due to the fact that they refused to show any emotions. Men were also ought to be very honest, honourable, loyal, brave and definitely away from any scandal with a low profile in the society at the Victorian times. One thing which proves this is that in the “Noble Bachelor” the gentleman allows his wife whom he is married to, to stay with her old husband who she still likes very much although she is not married to him anymore; this was considered as very nice, kind and gentlemanly thing to do.
Another fact about women is given through mysteriousness. Mysteriousness grabbed the readers attention very much therefore, what Arthur Conan Doyle did to add mystery to the helpless women in the Victorian ages, was to show them up with veils, covering their faces, this also implies a fact of strangeness however this might be shown as elegance as well as prestige. If we look deeper in the stories we realize that women do not become angry in the stories, they only become upset, for when Kate Whitney’s husband was very much worried about him, and Helen stoner tried to cover up the fact that her step father tried to kill her.
One important aspect of the story is that women were victims of crimes in the story; they were in “need” of “help” and “aid” due to the fact that they were so “helpless”. In the stories Helen Stoner was in need of help from Sherlock Holmes, Kate Whitney came to Dr Watson “in need of help” as well as Mary Morstan asked Holmes to solve her mystery of her father because she was “helpless” as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle expresses it in his writings.
Although women were known as very “timid” and “week” but on the other hand women were written to be very nice people for example Helen stoner in “Speckled band” has very much affection and love to her sister, as well as she respects her step father although he is brutal to her. We also see in the “Engineer’s Thumb” that the lady who was apparently the villains wife tries to help the engineer out by telling him to go out of the house before her husband comes, she also tries to stop her husband from killing the engineer.
And we also see that in “the man with the twisted lip” the lady is very worried about her husband, and yet accepts and serves her guests very well and she is more than willing to “help”. This proves that women were written different to men, women did not tend to hurt or to kill, they are mothers, women always tried serving and helping only to their capacities.