With the rise of detective stories popularity both on television and the big screen, many literature heroes have regained their considerable place in pop culture. The famous examples include modern works on Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade, Hercule Poirot and Philip Marlowe. Interestingly enough, most successful ecranisations choose detective protagonists with very particular personalities. Modern interpretations of famous detective stories tend to focus their attention on the character development, often through showcasing their social communication patterns as well as the protagonist’s psychological peculiarities.

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Whether it is a classic like Holmes, or someone exquisite like Marlowe, the defective’s character and charisma are key for achieving the common goal – solving the crime and finding the truth. The protagonist’s personality is typically used as an instrument to create an atmosphere of mystery, tension, and constant action. While in some cases the focus might shift to the intellectual side of solving crimes and in other stories the emphasis is put on the physical struggle with criminals, the similarities in constructing a popular detective story are manifold.
The ground rule of the story’s popularity lies in finding the correct way to appeal to the audience, both in novels and ecranisations. This essay will reveal that the protagonist’s personality plays the leading role in constructing an interesting, thought-provoking and unique storyline.
This essay will focus on the discussion and comparison of different private detective models. To illustrate the archetypal protagonists, this paper will use the examples of Sherlock Holmes and Philip Marlowe, both being the legends of classy detective fiction.

The essay will examine the complexity of both personalities. The discussion will provide concrete examples from the respective detective stories, especially focusing on the way that personal traits of protagonists are underlined by the storyline. To achieve a profound level of analysis, the paper will refer to academic sources discussing the characters.

Apart from the providing the general insight into the personality models of Holmes and Marlowe, the essay will proceed with a comparison of two detectives. In particular, it is noteworthy to acknowledge the differences in the approaches to their professional activity. Further, another issue addressed in the paper is the critical assessment of the significance of police characters in the detective stories. Besides the comparison with Holmes and Marlowe, the paper analyses the role of the police in constructing the storyline. The reasons for a differing image of the police will be thoroughly explained.

To summarize, both Marlowe and Holmes are the examples of strong personalities with a remarkable aptitude to solve crimes quickly and professionally. Sherlock is rather a classical detective whose success owes to his intellectual skills. In contrast, Philip is a hard-boiled character who solves crimes through direct confrontation with criminals. While there are some considerable differences in the way both characters are presented both in crime fiction and film, both men can be examined from a perspective of a successful detective. The desire to solve mysteries and puzzles is embedded in their very characters.

The uniqueness of character, often flavoured with some bizarre traits is precisely the trigger that allows to create a popular detective story. The protagonist’s personality is constructed in the way to induce empathy from the audience. Whether it is a drinking problem in Philip Marlowe or social awkwardness in Sherlock Holmes, strange attributes are always explained by some personal stories that induce a strong emotional reaction from the audience.

The final conclusion is that the image of the mostly faceless police facilitates the uniqueness of the protagonist as a contrasting tool. The police characters are often barred from being portrayed as strong personalities by the institutional framework of their work.