Disappointed in the World's Greatest Detective
Was anyone else repulsed by Holmes's addiction to cocaine? Why would the author ruin his genius character by turning him into a druggie? And so nonchalontly, too.
Weren't cocaine and opium legal at that time? It certainly wasn't considered as repugnant as it is today.
Jan 1, 2009 8:31 pm
I think Doyle wanted Holmes to be eccentric- It has been a long time ago that I read (all) his stories, but I faintly remember there is a given an explanation for his consuming cocaine (but I can't remember where); In the past, drugs where consumed very often by artists and intellectuals in order to get inspired (for example Byron, Shelley,...)
Jan 2, 2009 7:21 am
Doyle's explanation for Holmes's addiction had something to do with keeping his brain occupied when he had no mysteries to solve. Pretty poor excuse. I remeber it drove Dr. Watson crazy whenever Sherlock pulled out the syringe!
Jan 7, 2009 11:55 am
Sort of like what Basilisk said, I think Conan Doyle has Holmes use cocaine to emphasize his eccentricities and his need for constant stimulation.
But also: Holmes stops using cocaine (or at least does much less frequently) in the later stories BECAUSE Watson dislikes it and tries to make him quit. I think that, in this way, Conan Doyle uses Holmes's cocaine use to illustrate the relationship between Holmes and Watson--Holmes had never been the kind of person to have a close friend or confidant until Watson came along, and Watson becomes important enough to him to influence his actions.
Jan 16, 2009 1:40 am