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Introduction and Conclusion

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In What Ways is Sherlock Holmes the embodiment of Victorian Ideas of Progress? "You are yourself not luminous, but a conductor of light" The Victorian era was a time of great scientific advance, during which there were several scientific inventions and discoveries. Sherlock Holmes uses scientific vocabulary such as "a conductor of light," this shows that he uses scientific methods throughout the novel, therefore Holmes can be considered an embodiment of Victorian ideas of progress and can be compared to a scientist. Although the above quote is said by Holmes to Watson, it could be interpreted that Holmes is "luminous" as he illuminates the darkness in people's minds and crimes, such as the Hound of the Baskervilles that other, less scientific detectives are unable to. The reason that Holmes tells Watson that "you are yourself not luminous" may be because he believes that he is luminous. Holmes uses his clear and logical mind to destroy myths with his scientific method. He also uses forensic methods to solve complex crimes and mysteries, similar to a scientist. Holmes uses tools like a scientist to analyze data that he has gathered and so then he can deduce information from this and take important facts to focus on and solve complicated problems. Conan Doyle's creation, Sherlock Holmes, can therefore, be likened to a leading scientist such as Darwin, who attempted to destroy the Genesis theory using his idea of evolution. Many would conclude that the greatest and most significant scientific and mechanical breakthroughs, discoveries and inventions were uncovered in the Victorian era. ...read more.


This undermines the myth, but also undermines Mortimer. This is because Mortimer believes passionately in the Hound of the Baskervilles and Holmes tells him that it would be interesting to a fairy tales collector. From this quote alone, we can see that Holmes does not believe in the curse and that he thinks there is a scientific explanation for it. It is also interesting to note that Holmes does not focus on the hound, but on the owner of this dog. When he sends Watson to Baskerville hall, with Sir Henry Baskerville, he tells him to report back on "the relations between young Baskerville (Henry) and his neighbours." This shows that Holmes does not think that the hound is a supernatural phenomenon that is capable of working alone, but that it has a master who controls it; therefore he is suspicious of the locals. This also makes Holmes seem as though he is not a superstitious character, but a logical one. This is because he does not believe in the 'curse' that every one else does. Holmes does not only use his clear and logical mind to solve crimes, but he uses a wide range of forensic methods. An example of such method is when he uses typology. He uses this when Sir Henry Baskerville receives a note from an anonymous source saying "As you value your life or reason keep away from the moor." Holmes realises very quickly that the words have been cut from a newspaper and stuck on a piece of paper. ...read more.


This shows us that Holmes is not only a good detective, but that he uses methods similar to a scientists. This is because scientists work in the same manner, for example, they examine things, make a prediction, test their prediction and then use the results to draw other conclusions. This method can also be seen when Holmes is talking about threads which connect his case together and probability. In this particular example, Holmes is trying to ascertain whether the person who was following him in London was Barrymore, so he sends a telegram to be delivered into "Barrymore's own hands" and if Barrymore is not present, to send it back to London. Holmes also has a clear and logical mind as he has to juggle many different theories around and test them at the same time. This is shown when he says "We hold several threads in our hands...sooner or later we must come upon the right." For these reasons, Sherlock Holmes can be likened to a leading Victorian scientist such as Darwin; this is because they both destroy myths using a scientific method and also use forensic methods to help to destroy their theories they were concerned with. The tools that Holmes uses such as a "convex lens" also show that he uses a variety of different methods to solve crime. Using this information, Holmes can then use induction and deduction to solve complex problems and mysteries. Therefore, Sherlock Holmes can be considered for these reasons, an embodiment of Victorian ideas of progress. By Andrew Foley ...read more.

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