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Sherlock Holmes

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Holmes met Watson through mutual acquaintance when discharged from the army after being wounded. Watson needed someone to share a flat with and moved into 221 B Baker St. with Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle himself was a Doctor, which may explain why he had Watson as a side kick. Also, Doctors were seen as trusted and as ‘Saviors’ which may cause readers to believe in the word of a Doctor. As a Doctor, his skills of observing and describing are outstanding and so help to recreate stories for the reader. Also, this provides a legitimate reason for Watson being there at the scene of crimes.

It is made very clear that Holmes relies on Watson, A Scandal in Bohemia (pg. 14) “I am at a loss without my Boswell”, Boswell being a famous writer who recorded the thoughts and actions of his friend, Dr Samuel Johnson. As Watson is the narrator and as we being readers, get a meandering view of what Watson is like through his words on, and reactions to, what happens in stories. In Scandal in Bohemia where Sherlock says, “Doctor I shall want your co-operation”. Watson says back “I shall be delighted”. Holmes then says “You don’t mind breaking the law” and Watson replies “Not in the least”.

This shows us a lot about Watson. From this, it shows Watson will go to the extreme and risk he’s own freedom for Holmes. This is also seen in A Scandal in Bohemia where Watson excuses himself to leave Holmes, but Sherlock insists he stay. “Not a bit Doctor…. Sit down in that arm-chair, Doctor, and give us your best attention. ” Watson immediately does what Holmes tells him, and in some cases obeys his word even if it against his wishes, take note that this is very rare though.

Watson is a great admirer of Holmes as he works in The Speckled Band “I had no keener pleasure…. Watson is also highly trusted by Holmes’s which is shown in The Speckled Band “This is my intimate friend and associate….. myself”. With him using the word intimate, it shows us just how close he is with Watson. Watson is even willing to help Holmes, even if the situation difficult. In the Speckled Band Holmes is reluctant to take Watson with him, but Watson asks, “Can I be of assistance? ” Holmes replies, “Your presence may be invaluable. ” And then Holmes replies “Then I shall certainly come. ” This shows us as the reader how Holmes values Watson greatly.

Watson proves very important in many of Holmes’ investigations for them to be solved such as in The Sussex Vampire where the lady who is accused of being a vampire, will only open the door to a doctor, which is where Watson comes in hand. If it wasn’t for Watson, the note that Holmes wanted to get to the woman would not have been possible. Watson also shows us in truth he likes being of help to Holmes “I had no keener pleasure than in following Holmes in professional investigations. ” One of Watson’s other jobs is to be the narrator of Holmes’s adventures as well as being his sidekick.

With Watson being the narrator, it allows us as readers to see Holmes’ as the investigative supremo he is and as if it were Holmes himself narrating, he would have been far more modest. We know this because of Watson’s amazement as Holmes appears to read his mind in The Speckled Band. Another example is when Holmes discovers the criminal responsible for the poisoning in The Sussex Vampire by simply looking at a window reflection and analyzing a person’s facial expression. Also we know that they are experienced at dealing with horrific investigations.

This comes through with Watson’s voice as on in The Dancing Men, he says “I experience once again the dismay and horror which I was filled” telling us they have undertaken horrifying crimes more than once. Watson is not as skilled as Holmes and is more like the reader, so works on the reader’s level and talks of crimes at an understandable pitch for the reader. Readers at the time of the Victorian era would have found the stories easier to understand, more than a modern day reader as language has changed over time.

Whereas Holmes becomes immersed in the crime itself, Watson’s voice reveals elements of the social and historical contents of the stories. For example, in some stories he mentions he carries a gun. Such as in The Speckled Band “Have your pistol ready in case we may need it…… ” “I took out my revolver and laid it on the corner of the table. ” This shows us it was a normal thing to be carrying a gun in those times; so many people may have had one. Leading us to think there may have been quite a bit of gun crime.

The police as we understand today were a fairly new idea at the time that Conan Doyle was writing, and detectives were an even more recent idea. It was only in 1843 that ‘intelligent men were selected to form a body of individuals called the “detective force”. The members of it often dressed in plain clothes instead of a uniform. Watson and Holmes could both be described as this. The way in which Watson helps Holmes in The Speckled Band is by following him to Dr. Roylotts home to wait with him in the room where they would wait to kill the Speckled Band which is a snake.

For a moment Holmes really wants to take Watson as he could be putting him in serious trouble, but regardless knowing that what he may do could put his life in danger, Watson asks the question “Could I be of assistance? ” Sherlock replies “Your presence may be invaluable”. Sherlock Holmes then says “Then I shall certainly come”. This shows that Watson is prepared to put he’s life on the line for Holmes. Another example of Watson’s compliance to Sherlock is when Sherlock says “I should be very much obliged if you would slip your revolver into your pocket” perceptibly knowing he could be faced with a dangerous situation.

And Watson doesn’t even question why he would need his revolver, but just does as he is told. In A Scandal in Bohemia, Watson’s role was to throw a plumbers smoke rocket into a window for everyone surrounding to think there was a fire to create a diversion for Holmes to enter the home and take the photo. Watson did not question, nor ask why he had to carry out this task, but just did what he was told. Watson repeats Holmes’ orders “I am to remain neutral, to get near the window, to watch you, and, at the signal, to throw this object, then to raise the cry of fire, and to await you at the corner of the street.

Holmes replies “Precisely” “Then you may entirely depend on me. ” This shows us once again he would do anything to help Holmes and anything to get involved in an investigation. In the Sussex Vampire Watson is of help as Fergus’s wife would only see a Doctor, and with Watson being a Doctor he proved to be very useful. Watson is able to relay important messages back and from Fergus’s wife and Holmes which help make his first thoughts of who was the culprit of poisoning the baby and that Fergus’s wife was innocent.

Watson is again fervent to help Holmes as when Fergus’s wife says that she would only be seen to by a Doctor, he articulates “I should be very glad if I could be of use………………. Then I’ll come at once” He also helps in the investigation a he examines the poisoned dog, giving up his thoughts to Holmes if they compared. He affirms “Very remarkable. Very suggestive” (On what he has seen, the dog) Then asks Holmes “What do you see in it, Mr. Holmes? ” making us see he does have an important input towards investigations, and can be exceedingly helpful. We could even say Holmes would not be able to cope without his dear associate.

Holmes and Watson are one of the most famous detective pairings. It is normally typically an unconventional, highly intelligent detective who is aided by a more “normal” assistant who is an expert in their own right. Another very famous example of this would be Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings in the Agatha Christie novels. Other examples include Reginald Hills Dalziel and Pascoe and Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse and Sergeant Lewis. The role of an assistant provides a character the reader can relate to and who will ask the questions that a normal person would ask.

This ‘normal’ character is also there to contrast with the unusual characters, even royalty, which Holmes becomes involved with. The assistant is also on hand to be a practical help in solving the crime such as when Watson throws a smoke rocket into Irene Adler’s house in A Scandal in Bohemia. In conclusion, Conan Doyle uses the character of Watson in the stories to most definitely entice us, the reader, as Watson is just a normal person, but is involved in many of the story’s to make us feel as if it is us ourselves partnering Holmes when investigating a crime.

With Watson narrating the stories it gives us, the reader, a much better understanding by him giving his opinion and asking questions, as Holmes has a logical ruthless mind making it hard to understand how he has come to a conclusion in a certain story and with him being the narrator it also helps us the reader to see the wonder of Holmes’s ability to shine as the stories are being told by Watson, not Sherlock himself. He also uses the character of Watson to put across his own opinion and voice on certain matters within the stories.

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