The Sign of Four – John Watson

graphic organizer for essay

Dr John Watson'

Dr John Watson is the friend of Sherlock Holmes who is a medical doctor. The Sign of Four, The story is written in the first person, with Dr John Watson as narrator who is the friend of Sherlock Holmes.

He has lived with Sherlock Holmes for several years, during which time he has witnessed his companion at work on numerous difficult cases.

When he first meets Miss Mary Morstan, Watson is struck by how attractive she is. Their growing love story is a sub-plot of the novel. A complication in the development of their romance comes in the form of the Agra treasure and Miss Morstan’s entitlement to it. Watson is wary of being perceived as ‘a mere vulgar fortune-seeker’. In the end, when the treasure has been lost, he feels able, at last, to declare his love and was married to Mary Watson.

Dr Watson belongs to the new middle classes of Victorian Britain. He is ‘an army surgeon with a weak leg and a weaker banking account’. It was not impossible for the different classes to mix, but social conventions at the time disapproved of people forming romantic connections with those of a different social class.

We see the effects of this when Watson first meets Miss Morstan. He is attracted to her, but is certain that their unequal social, and particularly financial, statuses will stand in the way of a future for them together.

Watson is not a stupid man (he is, after all, a medical doctor, and one whose talents Holmes holds in the highest esteem), but he does not have Holmes’ insight. He serves as a foil to Holmes: here are two vivid characters, different in their function and yet each useful for his purposes. Watson is well aware of both the limits of his abilities and Holmes’ reliance on him:

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Dr John Watson'

Dr John Watson is the friend of Sherlock Holmes who is a medical doctor. The Sign of Four, The story is written in the first person, with Dr John Watson as narrator who is the friend of Sherlock Holmes.

He has lived with Sherlock Holmes for several years, during which time he has witnessed his companion at work on numerous difficult cases.

When he first meets Miss Mary Morstan, Watson is struck by how attractive she is. Their growing love story is a sub-plot of the novel. A complication in the development of their romance comes in the form of the Agra treasure and Miss Morstan’s entitlement to it. Watson is wary of being perceived as ‘a mere vulgar fortune-seeker’. In the end, when the treasure has been lost, he feels able, at last, to declare his love and was married to Mary Watson.

Dr Watson belongs to the new middle classes of Victorian Britain. He is ‘an army surgeon with a weak leg and a weaker banking account’. It was not impossible for the different classes to mix, but social conventions at the time disapproved of people forming romantic connections with those of a different social class.

We see the effects of this when Watson first meets Miss Morstan. He is attracted to her, but is certain that their unequal social, and particularly financial, statuses will stand in the way of a future for them together.

Watson is not a stupid man (he is, after all, a medical doctor, and one whose talents Holmes holds in the highest esteem), but he does not have Holmes’ insight. He serves as a foil to Holmes: here are two vivid characters, different in their function and yet each useful for his purposes. Watson is well aware of both the limits of his abilities and Holmes’ reliance on him:

Pic 22.jpg

Stay Up-to-Date with our new posts

July 2023 activity sheet

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