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How effective is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a Gothic narrative?

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Introduction

Freskim Rushiti 10V Mrs.C.Lynch How effective is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a Gothic narrative? In our G.C.S.E English class, we have been reading the Stevenson classic of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Whist reading this, we have been discussing how effective the book is as gothic literature and now we have to write an essay around the question, including the elements of a gothic narrative and how Jekyll changed when he got older. First of all, I will talk about a gothic setting. Before reading the book, when I knew nothing about the story I thought it would be similar to Frankenstein (by Mary Shelley) and that it would have an Eastern European Eastern Europe type of setting, concentrating around graveyards a lot of the time but I was very wrong. It is mostly set in laboratories or in the dark streets of Victorian Scotland. In the text it explains the whole setting of back street Scotland best in this section, "Round the corner from the by street there was a square of ancient handsome houses now for the most part decayed from their high estate and left in flats and chambers to all sorts and conditions of men." ...read more.

Middle

The quotes to support this, from the text are "It wasn't like a man; it was like a damned Juggernaut!" "Ape-like fury," and "Like a mad man." The quotations occur when Hyde walked all over that poor little girl, the author made you want to hate Mr. Hyde straight away but unlike in Frankenstein, they don't try and make you feel sorry for the evil killer, but in fact, it makes you feel worse for Jekyll. The next important gothic element is atmosphere. The atmosphere in Jekyll and Hyde is very tense as for most of the story you are trying to find out how and when Hyde will be caught. The story I think is based strongly around the main characters already knowing that Hyde is Jekyll. I think gothic atmosphere can be summed up in the section of the book when Carew is killed by Hyde. The calm conversation disintegrates into a murder right in front of the maid's eyes. She is just nicely getting on with her job, gazing over the street when Hyde suddenly jumps on poor Carew and he stands no chance. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the novel, Stevenson uses very particular language, similar to Dickens, to build up layers of tension, like a cake. "He was the usual cut-and-dry apothecary, of no particular age and colour, with a strong Edinburgh accent, and about as emotional as a bagpipe." This character is made out to be a very common person in this setting, though the narrator described him as a "juggernaut". In a gothic novel, the plot always seems to be in suspense. Nothing very much happens, there is a lot of clever talk and diary entries to place fear in the heart of the reader, but we never actually witnessed Hyde 'killing' Jekyll because Jekyll needed to take his own life to 'set Hyde free'. "Here then, as I lay down the pen and proceed to seal up my confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end." The character of Jekyll changed through the novel but because we are not allowed to know him, this is shown through the conversations between his friends. " ...ten years since... Henry Jekyll became too fanciful for me. He began to go wrong, wrong in the mind." You get the feeling that they think that the doctor is under Mr. Hyde's control. ...read more.

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