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"Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" - the Victorians view of the novel

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Pre 1914 Prose Coursework. "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' was written in the late 19th century by an English author named R.L.Stevenson. Victorians were interested in Darwin's theory of evolution and Stevenson took advantage of this. Not all classes were educated, so Stevenson had to aim for higher-class people. Jekyll would be the same class as the readers, whereas Hyde would be unknown to such people because he was associated with the lower classes. Stevenson was influenced by Darwinism in the novella to involve Victorian Society. When "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" was released, Charles Darwin had just revealed his theory of man evolving from apes. When the Victorians read this book, Hyde was referred to as evidence of Darwin's theory by the use of phrases such as: "With ape-like fury" and "Like a monkey, jumped", which gives you an image of primate characteristics. ...read more.


Most of the themes in 'Jekyll and Hyde' can also be found in many traditional narratives ie: Good versus Evil, Good and Bad guys and monsters. Further themes are the Fear of science and the transformation of the main character from good to evil. At the time that 'Jekyll and Hyde' was released, science was not that advanced. People were afraid of the unknown. The people that either had an education or could afford to read this book, found Jekyll as their kind of person. But when transformed, they would be disgusted and not know what to expect of him. Hyde was an obsolete species as far as the higher class Victorians were concerned because many never visited Soho. This novella contains characteristics of both Gothic horror and Detective genres. ...read more.


Whereas Hyde was described as having a 'black sneering coolness' ,or hard, and being 'not easy to describe'. Utterson the 'lawyer' was described as 'austere', and as 'the last influence to down going men'. This gives the feeling of him being a highly respected friend. The settings and characteristics would appeal to the Victorian society, and the themes could still hold meaning today. The settings and most of the characteristics were common to most Victorians. Settings, such as Dr Jekyll's surroundings and Mr Hyde's place of origin. The characteristics of Jekyll and Hyde could be associated with the different classes of the Victorian age, Jekyll with the upper class and Hyde with the lower class. Themes such as splitting the human mind into two distinct halves can be used as influence to scientists today, whether with in the field of surgery or chemistry. 1 Laurence Kimmins ...read more.

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This is a very superficial essay that makes claims and provides very little support for any interpretations that are made. You must always focus on structure, form and language and use these three ideas to structure your answer.

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Marked by teacher Laura Gater 18/07/2013

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