“The Woman”: A Scandal In Bohemia by Han


A Scandal in Bohemia reveals a mysterious and witty character who, under the impression of our great Sherlock Holmes, is always “the” woman, Irene Adler. In the story, the King of Bohemia is stuck in a scandal with Irene so he comes to Sherlock Holmes in hope that the detective can solve the problem. For Conan Doyle, Irene stands for an ideal woman_perhaps seen from his real life_so quiet, dainty, and feminine but mysterious, inexplicable, and intelligent. She is a real complex puzzle that even Holmes can’t find the key.

The author, in this chapter, showed his interest in the characteristics of a woman through his words and his tone. Ms Irene Adler is basically Doyle’s question about women. The same question that, hopefully, can be answered by Detective Sherlock Holmes, an intellectual man. Irene Adler, a beautiful woman and rather smart, has a complex relationship with the King of Bohemia. She keeps a photo of him and her standing next to each other and threatened to show it to his future wife. Sherlock’s mission is to steal the photo from her to prevent the scandal. While following her, he finds out she has a secret wedding with a lawyer, Godfrey Norton, meaning she no longer cares about either the King or the photo. However, Holmes tries hard to steal it from her, disguising as an innocent injured clergyman and building up a fake fire alarm so that he can get in her house and find the position of the photo. His plan succeeds, yet she is smarter and better prepares for the situation so she goes away by the next morning with the photo, and leaves Holmes a letter telling him the photo is now safe. Then the chapter ends with a not-so-successful

At the very beginning of the story, Irene is referred to as “the” woman with the italic “the” showing her role in the story as an important factor, she herself is the key to the case. Irene gives Holmes a strange feeling ,the feeling of love that “in his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex”. However, it has never been easy for Holmes to admit this emotion, to him, it was absolutely “abhorrent to his cold precise but admirably balanced mind” that he wanted to get rid of it as a detective. But he couldn’t, the fact that he accepted this case proves that he has a great interest in her. Holmes solves crimes to get better. He loves analysis, making inferences, sharpening his skills and gaining knowledge, so he should have required some conundrum. Therefore, how could this mundane lady with a apparent scandal, that can be solve in two days, satisfy him? So the only explanation for his action is “the” woman, Irene, the biggest mystery that he attempted to clarify. Sherlock’s has never mentioned Irene as his lover, but in many ways he showed his special feeling for her.

To Sherlock Holmes, “she is the woman, Irene, the biggest mystery that he attempted to clarify. Sherlock’s has never mentioned Irene as his lover, but in many ways he showed his special feeling for her. To Sherlock Holmes, “she is the daintiest thing under a bonnet on this planet”.

“The” woman is the implication for Holmes’ lover. Irene is a quiet woman, she sings at concerts, and seldom has a visitor. Holmes describes her as “ a lovely woman, with the face that a man might die for”. She was beautiful and attractive. But beyond her appearance, her mystery and intelligence make the great detective fall in love. From her
letter: Yet with [the fake fire alarm] you made me reveal what you wanted to know. Even after I became suspicious, I found it hard to think evil of such a dear kind old clergyman. But, you know, I have been trained as an actress myself. Male costume is nothing new to me. I often take advantage of the freedom which it gives. I sent John, the coachman, to watch you, ran upstairs, got into my walking clothes, as I call them, and came down just as you
[…] I keep [the photo] only to safeguard myself, and to preserve a weapon which will always secure me from any steps which [the King] might take in the future. Irene Adler showed all of her charisma in her appearance, smartness, and kindliness. Throughout the story, Irene may not just be Holmes’ lover, she also represent the image of an ideal woman in Conan Doyle’s eyes. To the author, “the” woman that he could do everything for is not just a beautiful woman. Doyle is attracted to her independence and cleverness. This woman is to him like the universe is to humanity. So many secrets are still covered. Doyle may believe that the woman who deserves the love of the great detective Sherlock Holmes must be someone smart and interesting enough to raise his curiosity. Conan Doyle didn’t have a happy marriage, in this chapter, he showed the reader and Sherlock how hard it is to achieve love. Overall, we can say that Conan wrote this chapter to show how Sherlock, a cold-minded man, could experience something warm like love, and to create the image of his ideal type of woman.

The author’s tone throughout the story . Doctor Watson is still a subjective writer. He makes some valuable criticisms toward Holmes:”He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position.” Sherlock is not a good lover, for sure, he is smart, but in love he is rather a fool. The tone gets brighter whenever Holmes tells Watson about Irene. often brings a feeling of commonplace and stupidity when he talks about Sherlock’s clients, the police and some of his enemies. Conversely,
he shows interest and respect to Irene Adler. After having read the letter from Irene, Holmes acknowledge “from what [he has] seen of the lady” that “she seems indeed to be on a very different level”. Even the King of Bohemia admitted that she would have made an admirable queen if she was married to him.

“To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name.” A Scandal in Bohemia is the beginning of a love story. Conan Doyle reveals the characteristic of the ideal woman that will later steal Sherlock’s heart. Irene Adler is still a mystery to Sherlock, to Doyle and to all of us.

“Roses are red Violet are blue
I think love is a disadvantage
But I’ll make the exception for you.
[my dear Irene Adler]”

Sherlock Holmes


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