The Sibling Relationship of Mycroft and Sherlock in The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter

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The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter was written in the end of 1892 or the beginning 1893 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and is one of 56 Sherlock Holmes’s short stories. Quick minded and educated detective who reveals crimes through logical analysis, comparing various, seemingly insignificant signs of a crime. In the story Sherlock mentions his elder brother Mycroft for the first time. Mycroft Holmes is even smarter than Sherlock and possesses much greater Faculty of an observation and deduction. Despite this fact he did not become a detective as his younger brother, Watson also wonders: “This was news to me indeed. If there were another man with such singular powers in England, how was it that neither police nor public had heard of him?” (Conan Doyle 1). In this essay I am going to draw a parallel between two brothers – Sherlock and Mycroft Holmeses and demonstrate what type of sibling relationships the brothers have. Relating to scientific approach there are four main sibling forms: (i)Warmth/Closeness, (ii) Relative Status/Power, (iii) Conflict, and (iv) Rivalry. The question of my essay is in what way Sherlock Holmes character is described in The Greek Interpreter in terms of sibling relationships between him and his brother.

The personality of a character can be revealed two ways: directly (or explicitly) and indirectly. Direct personality disclosure is when information of a character is told by another person. For example, in The Greek Interpreter Dr. Watson, Sherlock’s confidant tells about detective, which is direct character reveal. He says: “During my long and intimate acquaintance with Mr. Sherlock Holmes I had never heard him refer to his relations, and hardly ever to his own early life. This reticence upon his part had increased the somewhat inhuman effect which he produced upon me, until sometimes I found myself regarding him as an isolated phenomenon, a brain without a heart, as deficient in human sympathy as he was pre-eminent in intelligence. His aversion to women and his disinclination to form new friendships were both typical of his unemotional character, but not more so than his complete suppression of every reference to his own people” (The Greek Interpreter 1). This example straightly shows the reader what Mycroft’s younger brother personality is like. There is still another way to discover a human nature. According to Blume (Writing 101…) there are four methods to do it: thoughts - what can be revealed though character speech; actions- what and what way one does do; speech - what and how the character speaks; and the dialog. By opening the novel Watson explains Sherlock’s character. He says that the younger Holmes does not really like to get along with people and make a new friendship, he also has aversion to women.

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Having an elder brother may mean that Sherlock takes his hat off to his sibling and may be give in to. However, from the novel we are able to see that the brothers have a conversation solely about the interpreter case, but not personal, where we can assume that he is not too close to his brother. Furthermore, sibling relationships researchers Furman and Buhrmester (1985) say that relationships between siblings show an unusual role in brotherhood’s life. It is considered as an important part that serves as an emotional bond between siblings. This can be a source of communication, help, or emotional support. As Furman and Buhrmester (1985) note, older siblings can play some roles, such as caretakers, teachers, and models, in their relationship with their younger brother. In general, brothers and sisters can gain a lot of social and cognitive skills from relationships in their family, which, in turn, will undoubtedly be key to their healthy development in adulthood. Kinship seems to also exist in fiction stories that belonged to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), that was one of the most famous writers of detective stories to date, Sherlock Holmes, appeared in many detective novels at the cusp of the 20th century.

In the novel Mycroft Holmes tells about his brother Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes is a detective consultant that has outstanding mental capabilities. His wit, creativity and resourceful skills to solve problems spark interest though the novel. According to Ginzburg (1980), Sherlock Holmes has superior ability to analyze vestiges of a crime: traces, faces, the temperature of a corpse, cornea, pulse, snowy fields or ashes from cigarettes and other tips. Market justice Sherlock Holmes' abilities are actually inherited from his grandmother. According to The Greek Interpreter (1893), Holmes’s abilities are presented not only as a result of long hours of study and practice with the of self-development, but as hereditary as his brother’s Mycroft.

The people who surround him might say that Holmes is weird. Watson describes him as an automaton, a computer with something clearly inhuman in him. Even sometimes, self-control of the detective was hold machine, not a man. However, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tells a new story about the friendship between Sherlock and Mycroft in The Greek Translator. Contribution of his brother to Sherlock, which has significant level of deduction and observations this story worth to explore. Sibling relationships dimensions theory developed by Ferman and Bermester (1985) was used while describing the brothers relationships.

Definition of Sibling Relationship

Cicirelli (1995) describes that relations between brothers and sisters mean two children in a family who have a certain degree of common biological origin (full siblings and half-siblings), are legally defined (stepbrothers and sisters and adoptive brothers and sisters), as well as a certain degree of communication or socialization in normal sibling, especially culture. Cicirelli (1985) also added that kinship is a combination of interactions (physical, verbal and nonverbal communication) of two or more individuals who experience knowledge, perception, attitude, beliefs and feelings towards each other. Whereas Freud (1922) describes family relationships that are constantly involved as a model, assistant, and also adversary.

Moreover, kinship has four dimensions, such as warmth/closeness, relative status/power, rivalry, and conflict. In addition, the effective quality of kinship relations can also be different, for example, kinship relations can be close or distant, harmonious or contradictory, collaborative or competitive. More than that, relative status and power relate to the degree and direction of the imbalance in the relationship. While warmth or closeness shows a range of different qualities, such as intimacy, prosocial behavior, companionship, admiration, perceived similarity and affection. On the other hand, conflict can manifest itself in a quarrel, antagonism and competition.

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