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Literary Devices In A Scandal In Bohemia

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Literary Devices In A Scandal In Bohemia: How Doyle Creates a Memorable Short Story

A Scandal in Bohemia is one of the most famous Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was first published in 1891 in the Strand magazine and later collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 1892. The story introduces Irene Adler, a woman who outwits Holmes and earns his admiration. In this article, we will explore some of the literary devices that Doyle uses to create a memorable short story.


The story is set in London, during the Victorian era. The story takes place at three main locations: Holmes's apartment on Baker Street, Adler's residence at Briony Lodge, and the Church of St. Monica. These locations reflect the different social classes and spheres that the characters inhabit. The King of Bohemia and Adler have to disguise themselves to visit Holmes on Baker Street, which is a modest and middle-class area. Holmes, on the other hand, has to disguise himself as a groom and a clergyman to infiltrate Adler's upper-class neighborhood and the church where she gets married. The setting also creates a contrast between the public and private lives of the characters, as well as the moral and legal aspects of the case.

Point of View

The story is narrated by Dr. Watson, Holmes's friend and assistant. Watson is a reliable narrator who admires Holmes and reports his actions and words faithfully. However, Watson is also limited by his own perspective and knowledge. He does not always understand Holmes's methods or motives, and he sometimes misses important clues or details. Watson also serves as a foil to Holmes, highlighting his extraordinary abilities and eccentricities. Watson's point of view also allows the reader to share his surprise and admiration when Holmes reveals his deductions or solves the case.


Letters are a common literary device in Sherlock Holmes stories. They serve as a means of communication between characters, as well as a source of information for Holmes and the reader. In A Scandal in Bohemia, letters play a crucial role in advancing the plot and revealing the characters' personalities and motivations. For example, the letter that Holmes receives from the King of Bohemia introduces the main conflict of the story: the King wants to retrieve a compromising photograph from Adler before his marriage. The letter also shows the King's arrogance and vanity, as he refers to himself in the third person and offers a generous reward for Holmes's services. Another letter that is important in the story is the one that Adler leaves for Holmes after she escapes with the photograph. The letter reveals that Adler has outsmarted Holmes and that she has no intention of blackmailing or harming the King. The letter also expresses Adler's respect and admiration for Holmes, calling him "the best and wisest man" she has ever known.


Disguises are another literary device that Doyle uses frequently in his Sherlock Holmes stories. They allow characters to conceal their identities, deceive others, or gain access to places or information that they otherwise could not. In A Scandal in Bohemia, disguises are used by both Holmes and his adversaries. The King of Bohemia disguises himself as Count von Kramm, an agent of a foreign power, to visit Holmes on Baker Street. He does this to avoid being recognized by anyone who might know him or his affair with Adler. However, Holmes sees through his disguise easily and addresses him by his real name. Adler also disguises herself as a young man to follow Holmes after he visits her at Briony Lodge. She does this to confirm her suspicions that he is working for the King and to trick him into revealing where he thinks the photograph is hidden. She succeeds in fooling Holmes and Watson, who do not recognize her until it is too late. Holmes himself uses disguises twice in the story: once as a groom to spy on Adler's house and once as a clergyman to stage a fake fire alarm and


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