The Class System in Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes”

This is an interesting post. I think the author has made some interesting points here as regards how Sherlock Homes (through his portrayal by Doyle) disparages upper class characters. However Holmes is also disparaging of lower class persons, for example in “A Scandal in Bohemia” he remarks to his friend, Dr Watson, “hence, you see, my double deduction that you had been out in vile weather, and that you had a particularly malignant boot-splitting specimen of the London slavey”. Of course Homes comment can be read in 2 ways. It can be construed as being purely tongue-in-cheeck or, alternatively one can view it as showing contempt for the “servant class”.

JB Kellum

Throughout the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Sherlock Holmes stories, there is quite a bit of commentary concerning the social classes of the Victorian era. Whether Doyle was depicting Holmes as “upholding the status quo” of the time is a topic that is frequently debated because class inequality was a frighteningly real thing at the time. Women were often thought of as less intelligent than their male counterparts and there was a growing tension between the upper class and the middle and lower classes. Doyle also spends a good amount of time talking about a “criminal class” who are predisposed to take to a life of crime and often composed of people of the lower and working classes. This, by itself, would suggest that Doyle believed that poor people were destined to a life of crime, but I believe it’s a little more complicated than that. There are…

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