Secrets Being Symbolized Through Photography in Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia”
A secret is something that is kept, or that remains unknown to others. In Arthur Conan Doyle’s short-story “A Scandal in Bohemia” (1891), detective Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson go on a quest to obtain a private photograph of the King of Bohemia and his former lover, Irene Adler. This story’s use of photography symbolizes secrets, as depicted in the subject of the photograph, the character’s use of disguises, and in Holmes’ desire to keep the photograph as payment for his troubles.
Holmes is asked by the King of Bohemia to obtain a photograph that is in Irene Adler’s possession. The photo portrays the two as romantic lovers, and Adler has threatened…show more content… This quote from the texts is also suggesting that she is very powerful- power that comes from her sexuality. For example, the King says that Adler “has the face of the most beautiful of women” (Doyle 27). But it is her brain that captures Holmes, as she outsmarts him, notably in her use of disguise as she writes in her letter “ I have been trained as an actress myself. Male costume is nothing new to me. I often take advantage of the freedom which it gives” (Doyle 38). What makes Adler such an intriguing character, especially for the time in which the story takes place, is how she does not let the fact that she is a woman define her or her abilities. Adler is so pleasantly unusual that she makes Holmes question his opinion on women. As Watson says, “He used to make merry over the cleverness of women, but I have not heard him do it of late” (Doyle 40). While it’s clear that Holmes admires Adler, it’s unclear as to why he would like to keep her picture. There 's much curiosity about what sort of feelings Adler arouses in him. One can try to find romance in this, but there is no suggestion of sexual desire in the text. But rather, Holmes seems to want to keep the image as a reminder of his imperfection; Adler is the first to have outsmarted