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Flaws of Sherlock Holmes

Updated on August 18, 2013

When it comes to the world's most dominant literary character, especially in criminal literature, this fictional detective is second to none. This will be echoed by most who have read from the numerous short stories and a few novels by the much celebrated author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Conan Doyle created a spectacular character with a clear, logical reasoning mind and of a highly practical nature.However at the same time Sherlock Holmes was shown to have many faults recorded throughout his biography written by Dr.Watson.

One may ask why he is shown to have these character flaws, why not make him a better role model to those who are avidly interested in him. This can be answered easily by anyone. Conan Doyle would have been a poor fictional writer if he were to make his character more perfect, or flawless, as we might say. Fictional writers must make everything practical in their work. In real life no one can be considered perfect, because perfection is like one single combination of numbers in a combination lock, and the combination differ from each person's point of view.

Now we will look at each of those flaws that are associated with the master sleuth. We will also try to justify whether they really can be considered flaws. First comes his use of drugs. We must take into account that Sherlock Holmes was not shown like a regular drug addict. He uses drugs only during periods he is idle, having no case at hand, and does so to 'protest' against mental stagnation which are dark times indeed in his life. It is shown in later years in his biography that he had gradually recovered from the dangerous habit by the efforts of his faithful companion Dr.Watson.

Here comes a fault that seems to be in his character rather than his habits. He takes considerable pride in his ability and his ego is clearly evident to those who were close to him. His impatience with those of lesser intelligence than his makes it trying to others who are with him. The usual victim is the 'long suffering' Dr.Watson, who knows Holmes better than no other. This trait of Holmes also causes him not to disclose his complete plans and his opinion until at the last moment. But we need to understand that this could be a strategy by Conan Doyle to make his story rich in suspense and mystery, that Holmes' character would complement him by enabling him to write a better story.

Conan Doyle made an excellent job of shaping the character of Holmes in all his short stories and novels, while not excluding those flaws that give some extra essence to his character which makes the long chronicle of Sherlock Holmes something to look for by readers who are fascinated by his intellectual power and ability.


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