Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Back to Back: Sidekicks in Detective Fiction

Presenter Information

Paden CarlsonFollow

Class

Article

Department

English

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

In what could be considered the first detective story written, Sophocles' Oedipus Rex demonstrates the initial relationship that exists between detectives and their sidekicks-a companionship that evolves throughout the detective genre in stories such as Edgar Allan Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. In Oedipus, Oedipus' wife and mother, Jocasta, serves as a constant reminder that Oedipus, who is acting as the detective in this story, has indeed been wronged. Unlike modern representations of the sidekick, Jocasta functions as a confidant who, in many instances, rescues Oedipus from shame. Like Jocasta, the narrator in Poe's Rue Morgue serves as a confidant to the great detective, Dupin. While the latter is true, the role of the narrator is enlarged beyond that of confidant in Rue Morgue to include validation. For example, the narrator often applauds Dupin's powers of deduction and characterizes him as being brilliant. Similarly, Doyle further comments on the role of the sidekick in fiction by not only allowing him to serve as a confidant and validating companion to Holmes, but to actually attempt to practice reason himself.

Start Date

4-9-2015 9:00 AM

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Apr 9th, 9:00 AM

Back to Back: Sidekicks in Detective Fiction

In what could be considered the first detective story written, Sophocles' Oedipus Rex demonstrates the initial relationship that exists between detectives and their sidekicks-a companionship that evolves throughout the detective genre in stories such as Edgar Allan Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. In Oedipus, Oedipus' wife and mother, Jocasta, serves as a constant reminder that Oedipus, who is acting as the detective in this story, has indeed been wronged. Unlike modern representations of the sidekick, Jocasta functions as a confidant who, in many instances, rescues Oedipus from shame. Like Jocasta, the narrator in Poe's Rue Morgue serves as a confidant to the great detective, Dupin. While the latter is true, the role of the narrator is enlarged beyond that of confidant in Rue Morgue to include validation. For example, the narrator often applauds Dupin's powers of deduction and characterizes him as being brilliant. Similarly, Doyle further comments on the role of the sidekick in fiction by not only allowing him to serve as a confidant and validating companion to Holmes, but to actually attempt to practice reason himself.