Contrast and Comparison of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson


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The short detective stories by Conan Doyle were famous in the 1800s and they still hold their fame till today. Conans series highlight a series of crimes that are solved by a famous detective of the Victorian era known as Sherlock Holmes in conjunction with his friend and close associate Dr. John Watson. Dr. John and Sherlock work hand-in-hand to solve a series of mysteries involving various types of crime. The two help each other to unravel mysteries and uncover criminals.

Dr. John is a medical expert and much of his medical expertise helps Sherlock in unlocking various crime mysteries. He is also a good and sincere friend to Sherlock and a partner in unraveling crime. The two live on the same street as roommates and they are both un-married. Sherlock seems to respect and hold his friend John with great respect. This can be gleaned from many of his conversations, in which he refers to Dr. John with very good terms.

For example in the Adventure of the Greek interpreter Sherlock addresses his friend as:My dear Watson.  Similarly, in the Adventure of the dancing men, Sherlock refers to Watson in the same manner: You see, my dear Watson. This implies that he greatly treasures hid friend and he is good to him. Watson also respects and likes Sherlock work so much as depicted by his vivid descriptions of his work. On a request to join him in an investigation in the Adventure of the speckled band, Dr. John replied: My dear fellow, I would not miss it for anything.

This meant that Dr. John also regarded Sherlock in a similar manner-as a dear friend.  Dr. John also seems to enjoy, not only Sherlocks friendship but also his work, because in the adventure story he remarks: I had no keener pleasure than in following Holmes in his professional investigations The doctor and Sherlock were therefore intimate friends that held each other with great regard. In most parts of these series of adventures Sherlocks family life rarely comes to light and there is very little mention of his family.

He also talks less of his family; an indication that he perhaps had little regard for family. During his narration in the Adventures of the Greek interpreter, Dr. John makes an observation on this by stating that: During my long and intimate acquaintance with Mr. Sherlock Holmes I had never heard him refer to his relations and hardly ever to his own early life Dr. Johns narration portrays Sherlock as a person so detached that he seemingly had no family touch or feeling. Through the narrations inference he seems like a person that likes staying aloof, and at some point in the Doctor states that:

His aversion to women and his disinclination to form new friendships were both typical of his unemotional character, but not more so than his complete suppression of every reference to his own people. I had come to believe that he was an orphan with no relatives living; but one day, to my very great surprise, he began to talk to me about his brother.

Seemingly, Sherlock is made to appear as person free from dealings and emotional attachment. Sherlock seems to be less interested in women. On the contrary; Dr. John has a wife and seems to be a person with inclinations towards family life.  At some point within the story of the Adventures of the dancing men, the Doctor says: I never should, Mr. Holmes. But my wife does. It is frightening her to death. She says nothing, but I can see terror in her eyes.

That’s why I want to sift the matter to the bottom… Contrastingly, Sherlock has no particular interest towards the female gender with regard to romantic relations. Nonetheless, he was never rude and unpleasant to ladies. This can be inferred from Dr. Johns words: And yet, without a harshness which was foreign to his nature, it was impossible to refuse to listen to the story of the young and beautiful woman, tall, graceful Sherlock seems to interact with most female characters only within the context of solving crime, but lesser in the romantic context.

This is exemplified through Dr. Johns narration, whereby he states that Sherlocks interest in Violet Hunter ended with the end of the case in the Adventures of the Copper Breeches. The Doctor states that the focus on her had ceased just soon as her case ended. Sherlock seems to be more intrigued by the cases rather than the women in involved. The only exception mentioned is in Adlers case. Sherlock openly confesses his personality by saying; I am not a whole-souled admirer of womankind.

Apart from emotional matters Sherlock portrays a strong personality and at some point in his investigations he states that; You must not fear. This is an indication that he feared no part of his investigations or the people involved. Sherlock is portrayed as a deep thinking person that loves to immerse himself in the world of thinking in order to come up with solutions for his investigations.  In the Adventure of the solitary cyclist Dr. John narrates: My friend, who loved above all things precision and concentration of thought, resented anything which distracted his attention from the matter in hand.

This implies that Sherlock was more often in a thoughtful mood. On the other hand, Dr. John is portrayed as a shallow thinking person that lacks the keenness to see finer details in most of their activities. At some point in the Adventure of the Blue carbuncle Sherlock remarks: On the contrary, Watson, you can see everything. You fail, however, to reason from what you see. You are too timid in drawing your inferences. This statement implies that Dr. John is a person that least likes to immerse himself in any form thinking that requires concentration and deep thinking in order to come up with solutions to challenging situations.

The Doctor is portrayed as being kind, but not smart. On the other hand, Sherlock is portrayed as a smart and witty character that uses both his keen sense of observation and thought to the extent that even the finest details cannot escape him. However, Watson has a more humane, social and kind nature-a true opposite of Sherlock. However, despite their differences the two stay together and work like two faces of coin-so close and tight yet so different with very few similarities. Dr. John is generally straightforward and simple in nature-a character which does not allow him to enter the minds of the criminal.

However, the Doctor has the ability to follow most of Sherlocks research activities and make sense of what Sherlock does. Despite his slow sluggish and slow nature in reasoning, Dr. John is still able to piece up his observations and read the unraveling truth however; this fails him at times and he has to ask for an elaboration from Sherlock. This is indicated by the Doctors statement which in which he says: Familiar as I was with my friend’s methods, it was not difficult for me to follow his deductions and to observe the untidiness of attire, the sheaf of legal papers, the watch-charm, and the breathing which had prompted them… Therefore, it is conclusive that Dr. John is not un-clever or foolish.

Sherlock rises above most human instincts of emotion, hunger and sleep-just to mention but a few.  Sherlock does all this with the single aim of accomplishing his investigations successfully. This is the reason why he sleeps late and is more often a late riser in most of the days as observed by Dr. John; It was early in April in the year ’83 that I woke one morning to find Sherlock Holmes standing, fully dressed, by the side of my bed. He was a late riser, as a rule

Sherlock also displays a great liking and preference for logical reasoning in the making of any inferences in investigations, and Sherlock seems to believe in his detective instincts. He challenges himself in his work with great determination and goal setting as shown in the Adventure of the blue carbuncle, in which he states, My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don’t know.


 Conclusively, Sherlock is the total opposite of Dr. John, a deep thinker and detached person with little to emotion or affection and regard for family. On the other hand, Dr. John is a kind, more emotional and simple person that takes much for its face. Unlike Sherlock he is not a deep thinker. Though not foolish, Sherlock outwits him in smartness and craftiness.
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