Scandal in Bohemia, Gender Roles

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Scandal in Bohemia, Gender Roles

In "A Scandal in Bohemia," by Arthur Conan Doyle, society places women at an inferior level pushing them to the background therefore never allowing us, the reader, to know them, except for Irene Adler who shows the gender shift of the time period by becoming the main character in Sherlock Holmes investigation and the story. "A Scandal in Bohemia" speaks about the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his adventure in retrieving a damaging photograph for a king from his ex-mistress. In the society Watson describes, the role of women is of little to no importance except for emphasis that focused on the Kings mistress Irene Adler. In this society, women were the nurtures and the protectors of the children and what some deem as only financially valuable items. The female instinct to nurture reflects in the personality of Irene Adler. Watson recognizes this nurturing instinct when he says, "but I know that I never felt more heartily ashamed of myself when I saw the beautiful creature, against which I was conspiring, or the grace and kindliness with which she waited upon the injured man". Women also serve as protectors of those people or things, which cannot help themselves. Holmes explains to Watson a woman's natural behavior upon encountering an obstacle by saying, "A married woman grabs at her baby; an unmarried one reaches for her jewelry box". He did not say an unmarried woman reaches for her child but she would reach for a jewelry box, a material thing. The married woman reaches for a baby and not a jewelry box. In a society in which women's roles were secondary to men, Irene Adler is the only woman in this story who actually is given a personality. She serves as a significant character because the story focuses on her. The King fears this woman will seek revenge and as a result taint his image. His fear towards his marriage announcement is solely because of a woman, whose independence scares him. Throughout the story, Sherlock...
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