A Victorian Battle: The Methods of Sherlock Holmes, as Depicted in The Hound of the Baskervilles v. Charles Darwin, in His Theory of Evolution
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A Victorian Battle: Holmes v. Darwin
The Victorian society placed a strong value on professional and well-rounded scientists that were capable of making very rapid deductions to solve mysteries and to study and advance new medical breakthroughs. The Victorian age was filled with new discoveries and new notions and philosophies that changed England, Europe, and moreover, the world including: Darwin’s highly debated Theory of Evolution, Fleming’s discovery of Penicillin, the worldwide Industrial Revolution, and the invention of cars, telephones, and photography. These, among others, are just a fraction of occurrences during the Victorian era that will have forever changed the world. Holmes, in many ways, is also much like a scientist. He too uses forensic approaches in solving his various mysteries, in addition to using scientific tools, such as a convex lens. Holmes disentangles myths with his rather swift and hyper-logical intuitions, like many other scientists of the time, Darwin included.
The Holmes series, and some would argue genre, was created by Conan Doyle at nearly the same point in time that Darwin was assembling his Theory of Evolution for the world to critique. Holmes became the personification of the Victorian era’s obsessions with science and technology and reflects it with the numerous, above mentioned, scientific advances made at the time. He uses his numerous techniques and equipment, similar to that of a scientist, and is a good representation of a real-life scientist. Through this, he is able to make quick deductions in order to solve any problem presented to him, a trait that any great scientist possesses. Sherlock Holmes establishes all of these abilities on more than one occasion in The Hound of the Bas...
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Holmes’ calm and controlled manner, and the ability to recognize good and evil, are typical qualities of the people of the Victorian era. Victorians like Charles Dickens upheld family virtues and good overcoming of evil, and Conan Doyle’s characters in The Hound of the Baskervilles also represent this way of thinking. Sherlock Holmes was always open to new ideas, such as phrenology, and was able to progress with these new ways of thinking to come to a conclusion. He often questioned established beliefs, however, the Victorians were very conservative and restrained. Like Darwin, Holmes would question these established beliefs. Although they though like this, with time, people began to trust these new theories and began to question myths and certain established practices. The Victorians began to believe in scientific theories, so their ways of thinking changed.