Study Guide

The Return of Sherlock Holmes Admiration

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Aside from being the world's best sidekick, Watson is definitely the president of the Sherlock Holmes fan club. Watson admires Holmes so much that he basically devotes his entire life to Holmes. In fact, Watson almost doesn't exist outside of Holmes. But not all types of admiration are taken to such extremes in these stories. Holmes is universally admired, and we see signs of hero-worship in Stanley Hopkins, Inspector Martin of the "Dancing Men" case, and even Inspector Lestrade on occasion. Holmes himself rarely admires anyone, except for a small number of clever nemeses. People often seem to bore Holmes. Neither Watson nor Holmes can see past Holmes's awesomeness at times, but Watson's admiration isn't totally blind. He definitely expresses annoyance with Holmes on occasion. Admiration can be a positive emotion, but it's often a source of blindness in these stories.

Questions About Admiration

  1. Why does Holmes admire Dr. Armstrong of the "Missing Three-Quarter" case? What does Holmes's admiration here tell us about Holmes's character?
  2. Holmes expresses admiration for Professor Moriarty but hatred for Charles Augustus Milverton. Both of these men were criminal masterminds though, so why does Holmes distinguish between them and how is this distinction significant?
  3. How is the mentor/protégé relationship that exists between Holmes and Hopkins significant in these stories? Does Hopkins view Holmes as a helpful teacher or some sort of hero to be worshiped?
  4. Is Watson's admiration for Holmes healthy or is it too extreme?

Chew on This

Watson admires Holmes so much that he's nearly blind to his faults, and the faults he does recognize get turned into virtues.

Watson admires Holmes professionally, but he often expresses aggravation towards him on a personal level.

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