" Friend? The half of my soul. "
- Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), ancient Roman poet
The friendship of Sherlock Holmes and dr. Watson - the true relationship
Author: SherlockExtra - Translator: Revati
The Sherlock Holmes stories are extremely popular.The main reason is him being a genius, but there’s another very important thing: the friendship between the eccentric sleuth and dr. John Hamish Watson. It is heartwarming when an adventure begins and we already know that we’ll read about two great men who help each other and the clients who came to them. We feel close to ourselves these captivating persons, because we know that they would accept us as we are.
Friendship is a strong, clear, joyful relationship based on trust – something everyone desires. It’s not compulsory, like relationship between family members, or what we experience during the meetings at school/ workplace. Friendship is much more uplifting, because it is the voluntary togetherness of two people. Lots of care and cooperation is needed to keep a friendship alive, and it’s as important as love or family relationships. Friendship is devoid of sexuality and affinity, yet it is very significant in everybody’s life, because a friend accepts us as we are, and friends support and help each other. Friendship gives a feeling of security, soothes our ego, enhances mental development and offers a great chance to relax. It’s one of the greatest, noblest gifts of the world, which helps us improve.
At the same time friendship is a mystery as well. The world famous boxing legend, Muhammad Ali said: „Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.” . You really have to feel friendship.
It is precious, yet more and more rare these days. Everyone rushes, and there are many who have someone significant to think of, but they don’t call them, don’t send them emails or visit them. We have our duties at work, at school, and nowadays women have less time and energy to keep the family together. There are plenty opportunities of entertainment. Television and movies became much more spectacular. On the other hand valuable communication barely exists and the number of friendships and family relationships decreased drastically. Undeniably whole generations have grown up raised by the media, computer and video games, and they turn to these in their leisure time as well, instead of trying to get to know other people and forming relationships. Friendship doesn’t mean that much to them, nowadays many people are lonely in the middle of a crowd. Most young people may regard someone their friend whom they met a few minutes ago, and one may have lots of virtual friends. Of course these leisure activities are good, but no virtual friendship can compete a real one – you can rely on a real friend, and meeting personally is magical. Sadly lots of young people don’t see positive examples in their lives, they know little about happy and long-lasting relationships and they can’t spend enough time with their parents. They think nobody understands them, they feel that they’re alone, and their life is tragically difficult. In many families parents and children have a bad relationship, because the parents were also abandoned and neglected as teenagers, whose busy parents couldn’t spend much time with them. They grew up lacking the example of happy family life. Nowadays there’s too little communication, problem solving ability is incomplete, the will of cooperation is underdeveloped, and many important things are missing from our life, just like playing. We always have to take into consideration that the person who comes from a family facing the problems listed above has to face several difficulties regarding human relationships (at school, at work, or when they have conflicts with strangers). Who gets into troubles like these is not dumb or impolite, he/she only didn’t experience better solutions in his/her life. There’s one thing that makes the situation even more complicated: nowadays media excessively disfigures the notion of respect, love and friendship. Families are shown where cheating, lie and scam are common. Apology is meaningless, because nobody means it. People adore artists who say they respect the work of their late colleagues, yet they create something that is quite the opposite and it has nothing to do with respect at all. In most movies we see monsters or people who behave like monsters. Action heroes rightly kill others, or they are pictured as noble just because they don’t kill the children of their enemies. Media suggests that everybody has the right to do anything, but it’s not true. Whether we like it or not, there are rules – physical phenomena, laws and policies – that influence our lives. We have to accept them and adapt to them, otherwise tragedies may happen to us or others. Expending time on someone, paying attention to him/her, establishing trust, making compromises is hard work, it needs lots of power, time and energy. It is much more difficult than having a huge number of virtual friends on Facebook and knowing only a little about them.
Holmes and Watson are ready to work hard for each other. It is revealed from the doctor’s records that they not only investigated together, they talked a lot and attended concerts. Friendship offers real, long-lasting joy, trust, safety, emotional and mental development, not just temporal delight. Friendship helps us to be better.
No wonder then that Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, had no doubts that the Baker Street detective – the symbol of the wonderful human spirit – needs a true friend. He knew that life is incomplete without friendship. Doyle was greatly inspired by another legendary detective from literature – Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin. He also had a friend by his side, who recorded his cases, but Poe didn’t elaborate their friendship. Doyle lets us into the happy and sad moments of their heroes. Throughout the stories people often tell Holmes how automatic he is, yet the sleuth banters much more than his Canadian colleague, the good-hearted William Murdoch. Sherlock is loveable because of his jokes as well, this makes it easier to think of him as our friend.
The gorgeously talented Sidney Paget, who was the first to draw the detective, felt this too, just like American actor William Gillette, who portrayed Holmes onstage. Artistic ambitions led them to the legendary thinker of Baker Street, but they have found a true friend in him. Life gifted them with another wonderful friendship: they befriended with Conan Doyle. So Sherlock was conducive to making friends in real life as well. Sadly nowadays many people opine that Holmes and Watson had a homosexual relationship, though it disfigures the singularity of friendship, Doyle’s artistic greatness and the sleuth’s ability to build friendships. Homosexuality is more and more accepted these days – and it is a fact that grown-up people should have the right to do with each other whatever they want based on mutual agreement. But it would be also great to accept that the two tenants of Baker Street shared a relationship devoid of love and sexuality. They had the right to do so, and their creator wanted them to feel this way. It doesn’t harm homosexual people’s rights. Lots of homosexual characters can be created, and these characters will be sincere – while saying that Holmes and Watson were lovers is a lie. They had a fantastic relationship, one that every people need. Irrespectively of our sexual orientation we can be proud of the fact that the legendary detective and the good-hearted doctor shared good-fellowship. When we say „I believe in Sherlock Holmes”, we do believe in his abilities, in friendship-creating ones too. We believe in the revival of countless Sherlock Holmes Clubs, and we hope that lots of new friendships will come into existence through them. But for this to come to fruition we have to say cordially: „Sherlock Holmes is a good friend of mine, he’s the friend of dr. Watson and of all who admire them.”