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The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Discussion as an example of Gothic Fiction and as a critique of Victorian society.

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The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Discussion as an example of Gothic Fiction and as a critique of Victorian society. This book was written at a time of change in the world of fiction as a new form of gothic literature emerged. Fin de Siecle was a new type of New Gothic that had elements that differed from previous gothic stories. Stevenson's story is based around various shards of the gothic and is mainly focused on exposing the "duality of man" and his struggle to hide it from the outside world. The symbolism of Jekyll and Hyde is truly extended to all with differing parts in all of us. It was not a new idea as it had been seen in the classic example of a good and bad guardian, a devil on one shoulder and an angel on another, and also in gothic literature before it, such as Frankenstein with the duelling personalities of Frankenstein and the monster, creator and creation which is easily comparable with the roles of Jekyll and Hyde, ". ...read more.


As Stevenson added a new dimension to Gothic literature he reinforced his story with another genre, the detective novel. From the outset of the book we are introduced to several classic elements of the genre. The solitary narrator that is Utterson who takes the role of the detective, and then this mysterious house with its peculiar entry, "Did you ever remark that door?", which is followed by the entry of the classic gothic figure, a sinister "Juggernaut" who immediately invokes a disgust in all whom he meets, "I saw that Sawbones turn sick and white with the desire to kill him". This helps the reader identify who the villain of the story is, but may also be attack on society's preconception of judging people simply on their appearances as already he is described with anger within the first instance of his description and this continues throughout the book, "an imprint of deformity and decay". This novel was also quite relevant at the time of its publishing which happened at the same time as the murders of the infamous Jack the Ripper. ...read more.


We know that historical events, such as the French Revolution, would have an effect on the lower classes and perhaps this is the reason that Jekyll is a powerful and successful doctor and not some average, doctor of the people. It is common knowledge that he had troubles with his father and he joined an organisation, which "disregarded everything our parents taught us". The relationship between Jekyll and Hyde is similar to Stevenson and his father, and Jekyll's relationship with the outside world is also like Stevenson's. In some ways he is portraying himself as the lead character and perhaps the character of Hyde is in fact a personification of his illness that kept him bedridden for a long time. The main force behind this book is the duality of men but this battle raging inside him may also have influenced his story and given Hyde a more disgusting, exaggerated image, "lean, corded, knuckly, of a dusky pllor and thickly shaded with a swart growth of hair. It was the hand of Edward Hyde." ...read more.

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