A Scandal in Bohemia

by

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Irene Adler is an opera singer, world traveler, and former lover of Wilhelm von Ormstein, King of Bohemia. She has kept letters and photographs that are evidence of her relationship with the King and, according to him, she plans to use them to blackmail him if he tries to marry the Princess of Scandinavia. While Holmes manages to trick Irene with a disguise and gain entry in to her house, she catches on quickly and disguises herself to spy on Holmes and Watson, ultimately outwitting them and fleeing before they can seize her photographs. Irene is initially portrayed as the story’s antagonist, but her intelligence and cunning earn Sherlock Holmes’s admiration, and she proves not to be a malicious person at all. In the end, even though she doesn’t hand over the photographs, she assures Holmes and the King that she means them no harm. Not only does the King of Bohemia proclaim that she would have made an excellent queen if she were not a commoner, but Sherlock considers her more intelligent than any other women he has met.

Irene Adler Quotes in A Scandal in Bohemia

The A Scandal in Bohemia quotes below are all either spoken by Irene Adler or refer to Irene Adler . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Logic vs. Emotion Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam Dell edition of A Scandal in Bohemia published in 2003.
Part 2 Quotes

“He’s a brave fellow,” said a woman. “They would have had the lady’s purse and watch if it hadn’t been for him. They were a gang, and a rough one, too. Ah, he’s breathing now.” “He can’t lie in the street. May we bring him in, marm?” “Surely. Bring him into the sitting-room. There is a comfortable sofa. This way, please!”

Related Characters: Irene Adler (speaker), Sherlock Holmes
Page Number: 256-257
Explanation and Analysis:

Good-night, Mister Sherlock Holmes.

Related Characters: Irene Adler (speaker), Sherlock Holmes
Page Number: 259
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3 Quotes

I wish she had been of my own station! What a queen she would have made!

Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:

“From what I have seen of the lady she seems indeed to be on a very different level to your Majesty”

Page Number: 262
Explanation and Analysis:

“Your Majesty has something which I should value even more highly,” said Holmes. “You have but to name it.” “This photograph!”

Page Number: 262
Explanation and Analysis:
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Irene Adler Character Timeline in A Scandal in Bohemia

The timeline below shows where the character Irene Adler appears in A Scandal in Bohemia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Logic vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Love, Friendship, and. Admiration Theme Icon
...Yet despite his abhorrence of anything akin to “love,” Watson recalls, there is one woman, Irene Adler, who “eclipses and dominates the whole of her sex.” To Holmes, “she is always... (full context)
Logic vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Love, Friendship, and. Admiration Theme Icon
Recalling when Holmes met Adler, Watson notes that he had recently gotten married, and their difference in lifestyles had, for... (full context)
Love, Friendship, and. Admiration Theme Icon
...he was younger, he had a short relationship with a “well-known adventuress” and opera singer, Irene Adler. He sent her a number of letters and a photograph of the two of... (full context)
Part 2
Disguise and Deception Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...the persona of a horse-groom and socialized with the other grooms at the mews near Irene Adler’s house, in order to get information about her. He heard from the men that... (full context)
Disguise and Deception Theme Icon
Love, Friendship, and. Admiration Theme Icon
While Holmes was still observing Irene’s house, Godfrey Norton arrived, spent about half an hour in the house, and then hopped... (full context)
Disguise and Deception Theme Icon
Love, Friendship, and. Admiration Theme Icon
...the ceremony, still dressed in the disguise of the out-of-work groom, and when they finished, Irene gave him a sovereign coin, which he still keeps with him as a souvenir of... (full context)
Love, Friendship, and. Admiration Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...arrest. Watson agrees enthusiastically and Holmes explains the plan. Holmes and Watson will be at Irene Adler’s house when she returns home at 7:00 p.m. Sherlock will be involved in “some... (full context)
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As they wait for Irene, Holmes and Watson discuss her marriage to Godfrey Norton, guessing that she will not want... (full context)
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At that moment Irene’s carriage pulls up, and as she exits, she is rushed by two men hoping to... (full context)
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Justice Theme Icon
...the street, Holmes explains to Watson that he employed everyone on the street, other than Irene, as part of his plan. He orchestrated the fire alarm because he knew that Irene... (full context)
Logic vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Disguise and Deception Theme Icon
...in the company of the King, at 8:00 a.m. They will arrive early to catch Irene by surprise. As they arrive at the door of 221B Baker Street, a youth passes... (full context)
Part 3
Love, Friendship, and. Admiration Theme Icon
...plan and the three men hop into the King’s carriage and make their way to Irene’s. On the way, Holmes informs the King that Irene is married—this is good news, because... (full context)
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As the men arrive at Irene’s house, her housemaid informs them that she has already left England for Europe, never to... (full context)
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Disguise and Deception Theme Icon
Love, Friendship, and. Admiration Theme Icon
In her letter, Irene explains that she realized too late that Holmes had tricked her into revealing her hiding... (full context)
Logic vs. Emotion Theme Icon
Love, Friendship, and. Admiration Theme Icon
Justice Theme Icon
...the King for an unsatisfactory ending to the case, but the King is satisfied with Irene’s promise. He offers Holmes a valuable emerald ring as payment, but the detective asks only... (full context)