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Is Jekyll and Hyde just a gothic horror story or does it have something to say about human nature?

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Is Jekyll And Hyde Just A Gothic Horror Story Or Does It Have Something To Say About Human Nature? 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson is a typical Gothic horror story in the way the novel is written and described. Some people may disagree with this statement because in the Cambridge guide to English literature, Gothic fiction is described as - a type of novel or romance popular in the late 18th and early 19th century and the word 'Gothic' had come to mean 'wild' 'barbarous' and 'crude'. Gothic novels were usually set in the past and in foreign countries, they took place in monasteries, castles and dungeons. Plots hinged on suspense and mystery often involving the supernatural. Having read the statement and also 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' some parts of the statement do not agree with the novel, for example, the novel is set in London and there are no castles or dungeons. Where as in Dracula by Bram Stoker and also Frankenstein by Mary Shelley are both set in foreign countries and also in mysterious locations - Dracula being set in a castle and Frankenstein in a laboratory. ...read more.


A Gothic location is a place where it is usually dark, dingy and foggy - a sinister place that you really would not like to be. For example Dracula's castle is a gothic location, because it is old and also because it is dark and mysterious. Many of the locations in the novel are gothic, one of them being the description of Hyde's house and the street outside. The novel quotes 'the fog lifted a little and showed him a dingy street.' Then in the same chapter Stevenson describes the front of the dissecting room as a 'Sinister block of building' and 'two storey high, no window.' This house seems mysterious by the way it has no window and it leaves you wondering right from the very start of the novel what is actually inside that building. One of the strange things that I noticed when reading the novel is the description of the surrounding area when Dr Jekyll is there towards the end of the book, the novel quotes ' Fine clear January day, wet under foot where the frost had melted....,and the Regents park was full of winter chirrupings and sweet with spring odours.' ...read more.


Overall, I feel what Stevenson is trying to say about human nature is that all humans have vices such as drinking and gambling. The creation of Hyde allows Jekyll to do what he wants, when he wants and hopefully he will not get caught. Jekyll does not want to have his reputation ruined, so that is why he creates Hyde so he can do all these things. Stevenson is saying that humans have pessimistic views so they will act evil to get away with something. In conclusion, I think that this novel is a Gothic horror story, but also does have something to say about human nature. Stevenson does mention human nature in the novel as I have discussed previously, for example the trampling of the girl and the murder of Danvers Carew. Of course, the novel could not have discussed human nature if Stevenson's wife, Fanny had not been involved. In Jenni Calder's introduction to 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,' Calder writes ' Stevenson dreamt the essentials of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.' ' It was initially the Gothic aspect of the story that excited him....' ' Fanny didn't like it, she felt there was more potential for more than just a mere horror story, that it might have something to say about human nature.' Overall, the human nature aspect of the novel, makes the story more interesting. ...read more.

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