A Study in Scarlet Questions and Answers
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Analyze the symbolism of the blood and the word "rache" in A Study in Scarlet.

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The word "rache" is a German word meaning "revenge." In the story, it alludes to Jefferson Hope's determination to get revenge for the death of the woman he loved. He blames Enoch Drebber and Joseph Stangerson for this death and accordingly pursues them across Europe in order to get his revenge.

The prevalence of blood in the story symbolizes the violence of the murders and also the gruesome determination of the murderer. Indeed, the murderer writes the word "rache" in "letters of blood," implying that he has been absolutely single-minded and determined in his pursuit of the victims.

The blood in the story also symbolizes Holmes's powers of deduction and intelligence. He explains to Watson that he has discovered "a re-agent which is precipitated by hoemoglobin, and by nothing else," meaning that he has "an infallible test for blood stains." Holmes tells Watson that if his discovery had been made earlier, there would be "hundreds of men now walking the earth who would long ago have paid the penalty of their crimes."

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