Irene Adler Character Analysis

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Irene Adler only appears in the episode the A Scandal in Belgravia. The producers of the TV show Sherlock made interesting choices with the character, as Adler seems to adhere to the image of a traditionally attractive woman but her occupation as a lesbian ‘dominatrix’ is atypical. Irene is a contradictory character as she is able to outwit Sherlock on their first encounter while she is sexualized as a femme fatale.

Unlike Molly, Irene Adler is full of sexual appeal. Adler is portrayed as a seductress that dominates Sherlock and becomes his romantic interest. First of all, Mycroft Holmes sexualizes her as a “fugitive sex worker”. Her professional name is ‘The woman,’ or the ‘dominatrix,’ who performs intense physical torture for sexual pleasure for wealthy clients. As seen in figures 5-7 above from the pictures of her website, her sexuality is demonstrated through her sexual gestures, provocative facial expressions, and revealing lingerie. The professional identity of Adler reflects Adler’s dominating power over others. This is partly shown when Adler incapacitates Sherlock with a drug and whips him with a fire iron. Furthermore, as seen in figures 8 to 12, Adler’s sexuality is shown through full and colorful makeup and fancy dresses that reveal her body, which are typically considered feminine in western cultures. In addition, Adler speaks in an assertive and an alluring tone, as she blurts out what goes on her mind, repeatedly saying that Sherlock’s intelligence is
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