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the speckled band

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Introduction

"The Speckled Band" Coursework "The Speckled Band" is set in London 1886 in the era of Queen Victoria. Crime was rife in the slums of London. Prostitution, drug abuse and murder were high. There was much poverty and ill health as poor people lived in cramp dirty conditions and smog from the factories weighed heavily on the city, making it dark and dreary. When Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes, the Victorians immediately fell for the fictional character. He became the perfect detective solving every case. When Doyle tried to kill off his character in 1893, there was a public outcry and Doyle received death threats warning him to keep Holmes alive. Sherlock Holmes has become one of the most celebrated and famous fictional detectives the world has ever known. Conan Doyle had many influences that helped him to write the Holmes adventures. The main influences were the tales of Edgar Allen Poe and the novels of Wilkie Collins. The works of these and other authors established the pattern that Conan Doyle's stories follow. The main ingredients of a typical murder mystery usually include a body, a motive, a weapon, a suspect, an alibi and a detective. This detective story has all of these. "The Speckled Band" also follows a typical murder mystery structure. Miss Stoner tells her tale to Holmes and Watson; Holmes questions her; Holmes and Watson visit the crime scene; Holmes devises a plan of action; the murder is caught in the act; and Holmes explains how he deduced the solution to the mystery. ...read more.

Middle

This suggests that she is in pain and by using words like "groping" makes it sound violent. It clearly shows us that he is a doctor who has abused his power for wrongdoings, "When a doctor has nerve and he has knowledge". Although is a doctor, very much a professional man, people also fear him, his collection of wild and dangerous animals reflect this, "He has a passion also for Indian animals, which are sent over to him by a correspondent and he has at this moment a cheetah and a baboon, which wonder freely over his grounds". This might reflect his power that he has over his daughters and over the villages, "Feared by the villagers almost as much as their master". During the Victorian period, women were regarded as "the weaker sex" in many ways. The Victorian era was a very patriarchal society. Victorian woman had little power and control over their lives as it was believed by many that women were incapable of sensible and logical thought, people believed that they were led by their emotions rather than their minds. This is shown in "The Speckled Band" by the fact that the Stoner twins' inherited fortunes are controlled by their cruel stepfather, Dr.Roylott, and the twins can only gain their inheritance by marrying. It was seen as improper for women of the middle and upper classes to do any kind of work. ...read more.

Conclusion

Holmes seems quite amused by what Dr.Roylott has done and says that he is not so weak himself: "I am not quite so bulky, but if he had remained I might have shown him that my grip was not much more feeble than his own". Sherlock Holmes continues to be an influence on modern writers, a gentleman and a hero at the same time. The most impressive aspect of Holmes' character is his intelligence, which leaves other characters and the reader astonished. We can see this from the very start were Holmes tells Helen Stoner exactly how she arrived at his house, in detail. We also find out that he has worked out how the murder was committed long before all the evidence is put together at the end of the story. Modern day fictional detectives still often have many things in common with Sherlock Holmes: high moral standards, wealth, loner tendencies and great intelligence. This shows us how appealing Sherlock Holmes was and still is as a character. We also find out that Holmes is unpaid for his work which only increases our admiration for him. The most interesting thing that I have learned about Victorian society is the attitude towards men and women. Men in stories were very much the heroic character, whereas women were helpless and not very clever. It's interesting comparing this story to a modern one as it shows us how attitudes have changed over the last 100 years. ...read more.

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