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How Has Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Crafted "The Adventure Of The Speckled Band" To Appeal To A Victorian Readership ?

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How Has Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Crafted "The Adventure Of The Speckled Band" To Appeal To A Victorian Readership ? The Victorian age was a time of increasing prosperity for England and immense development with regards to literacy and, consequently, literature. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote his story "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" specifically for a Victorian readership. Many views and opinions differ greatly, between those of modern day and those of the nineteenth century. Because of this, it is quite easy to distinguish the techniques Doyle used to appeal to his target audience. The Victorians' beliefs and values would almost certainly have affected the style and content of Doyle's work. Another aspect, which may have affected the story, is Doyle's own view of Victorian England. He used his knowledge and understanding of the society in which he lived to inform and inspire his tales. Did Doyle have a didactic agenda, hoping to change public belief? The methods used by Doyle to appeal to a Victorian readership are deserving of careful analysis. Doyle uses Holmes' assistant Watson as the narrator of "The Speckled Band". ...read more.


Doyle's main male characters, Holmes, Watson and Dr Roylott, are all powerful and active. Holmes and Watson are defenders helping Miss Stoner. Contrastingly Dr Roylott showed men's power through his strength. He is punished at the end of the tale. One could argue that this is because he does not completely adhere to the expectations of his sex: he is too violent and does not protect or defend Miss Stoner. Holmes' intellect is "for speculation and invention", (Ruskin). Holmes' intelligence and powers of deduction would have been viewed as perfectly suited to a male hero by a Victorian readership. The only female character, Miss Roylott, also fits the Victorian stereotypes. She is weaker than the men and needs to be protected: "he guards the woman from all this", (Ruskin). Whereas Victorian readers would have approved of Miss Stoner's behaviour, a reader in two thousand and three with a feminist agenda would not have viewed the actions favourably. Holmes and Watson are charged with the task of her protection. The stereotypical characters would appeal to a Victorian audience who expected that kind of behaviour. The plot of "The Speckled Band" was designed in a particular format to appeal to a Victorian audience. ...read more.


This message of good triumphing over evil is found in all of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Even though the stories may include topics that are foreign or dangerous to a Victorian audience, the righteous ending would make them feel justified in reading them. Doyle adds to the tension of "The Speckled Band" through his use of locations and the weather. The Roylott house would have seemed, to Victorians, to be the perfect location for a murder. The house is large, old and in need of repair work. This would make it seem spooky and more sinister. The weather also adds to this effect. Before Holmes and Watson arrive the weather is calm and warm, "...there was a strange contrast between the sweet promise of spring and this sinister quest upon which we were engaged". This helps to build up an anticipation of troubles yet to come. When it comes for the time for the duo to begin the stake out, the weather reflects their mood, "... on the dark road, a chill wind blowing in our faces ... the gloom to guide us on our sombre errand". The darkness and even the chill wind are often used to symbolise evil or a menace and help to build up a sense of impending danger. ...read more.

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