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"The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde." - review

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Introduction

"The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde." "Man is no truly one, but truly two." There are two sides to man, a good, and a bad. This book was written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1885 and is set in the Gothic genre. The gothic genre is associated with darkness, the supernatural, and more importantly, nightlife. "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" is based on Stevenson's own double life. In his daily life he was a respectable Victorian middle classed man, however by night he lived the life of a debauched bohemian. The Victorian society at that time and the lifestyle was very strict. They believed in morality and formality, and the Victorian children were extremely well behaved. The middle and upper class Victorians would meet at public gatherings, for example church and would expect each other to behave in a very ethical manner. This however was not the case at all times, especially men. They would go out late in the night gambling and drinking. Stevenson portrays this using the life style of a doctor who is ethical, principled and lives a very normal and proportioned life. However, by night his personality and his look grow into a monster like creature. Jekyll is described as tall and handsome throughout the book. ...read more.

Middle

This therefore suggests that Jekyll is much higher up in the evolutionary scale than Hyde. The return of man to the inhuman state is often recognised in the Gothic genre. By linking Darwinism and "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde," we can see that Stevenson here is also portraying man higher up in the evolutionary scale as "good" and man lower in the evolutionary scale as "bad." A large part of this book is involves secrecy. Dr Jekyll keeps his relation with Edward Hyde a secret otherwise people would have looked at him in a different way, however the irony of looking at him as a different man can be perceived by us, the viewers. Near the beginning of this book Hyde tramples a young girl, and the family of that girl ask for his name using blackmail, the alternative however was to pay one hundred pounds in order to keep his identity quiet. This shows how much secrecy meant to the Victorian society. Throughout the book there are references to blackmail between Hyde and Jekyll, (ironically the characters in the book do not know that they are the same person), however the only person who believes that blackmailing has occurred between them is Mr Enfield, who is a cousin of Utterson. Blackmail is slightly engaged with homosexuality and a suggestion to homosexuality is made on frequent occasions during the book. ...read more.

Conclusion

By night however, becomes a creature hankering for blood. The character Dracula is more similarly related to Jekyll as he plays by the aristocratic nature during the day, and by night changes into the unthinkable, for a person with such principle. Dr Victor Frankenstein however is less similarly related to Jekyll as he physically doesn't commit any crimes himself, but it's his use of science, which links the two characters together. Stevenson, as a student lived life like many of the men that are presented in this book. He lived in Edinburgh, which had two parts to it, a new town where the middle to upper class people housed themselves and lived moral lives, and an old town where many lower classed people slept on the streets and those who earnt a little more lived in disgusting, diseased filled, houses. Due to educated and well-known parents, Stevenson lived a good life as a child and educated himself at Edinburgh University. It was here where he and a group of friends carried out mischievous things, and then he came to realise that he had two lives, a life where he respected others and was a hard workingman like his father, and also a life where he was free from morality and principles. It was this experience that he had which probably led to this story of a man who is trying to prove that there are really to sides of man, "good" and "evil." ...read more.

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