Sherlock Holmes. William Sherlock Scott Holmes. One does not know whether to love or hate him in many instances. He is snobbish, conceited and boastful, yet he is intelligent, often handsome, courageous and downright risky. But why do we all admire him so?
When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle began to write of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, in ‘A Study in Scarlet’, I am sure he was oblivious to the instant success he would receive and the extent of how famous this icon would eventually become. He is now something of a legend, a character whose name is known by almost every person who is alive. Many, including myself, like to believe that he is in fact real, and not a product of fiction. It is remarkable how Doyle has captured millions of hearts and, indeed, imaginations with just one character. Holmes has been portrayed by many actors, most prominently by Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC’s current adaption ‘Sherlock’ and Robert Downey Jr. in the films (2009 and A Game of Shadows in 2011), and almost all adaptions have been acclaimed. He is a person whose influence extends far beyond his home of 221B Baker Street and the streets of London; he and his many exploits have touched the lives of thousands, perhaps even millions. Although he an be perceived as inhuman, he has so many aspects that one can relate to that he becomes as human as any man, if not more.
Personally, Sherlock Holmes touched my life immensely. Upon discovering him, I became fascinated with his world, with his era, and with his ‘Science of Deduction’. I have spent hours studying the theory, and trying to develop a ‘mind palace’, striving to achieve the intelligence and greatness that Doyle managed to fabricate in his much loved character. I would shut myself away in my mind with him, and live with my fantasies and the fictional worlds I love so ardently. Yet, as much as he kept me sane in times in which madness was certain, Sherlock became such an inspiration to me, and in an odd way helped me to believe in myself.
He become something of a motivator for me; I struggled for so many years, through so many hot and heartbroken tears to find out who I was, and Sherlock helped me through it. He taught me that, despite what others think of you, you must go on just as you are. There’s no changing your intellect, your imagination, your fantasies, your aspirations or your interests. You are who you are, and that if you try to change you will end up hating yourself. He is not a sociable man- he is described by many as a ‘high-functioning sociopath’, and he is quite distant from his emotions. He is not the classic, 19th Century detective- he is the greatest, most wonderful fictional character ever written. He knows who he is, and he is satisfied with his qualities and his obvious flaws. Despite his weaknesses, he always looks for the small aspects which make up the big picture, and they are most certainly the most important aspects.
‘It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.’
-Sherlock Holmes, A Case of Identity
Ending on that note, I hope that you have been inspired by the man whom we all know as the great and illustrious Sherlock Holmes.