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A Key Theme in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is The Struggle between Good and Evil. How Does Stevenson Show the Struggle in Dr Jekyll?

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Introduction

A Key Theme in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is The Struggle between Good and Evil. How Does Stevenson Show the Struggle in Dr Jekyll? In this essay, I am going to explore how Robert Louis Stevenson shows the struggle between good and evil in Dr Jekyll in his novel "The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde." The book was published in 1886. The novel investigates how a person is made up of contrary emotions and desires, the good and the evil. The book revolutionary when it was first published, in 1886 life was very different to what it is today, and so the response readers have to the book now is very different from what a 19th century reader's would have been. In 1886 the class divide was very prominent, resulting in the poor staying very poor and the rich living life in luxury. Dr Jekyll is a doctor, which was a very highly respected position in Victorian society in chapter 2 when Mr Utterson is reading Jekylls titles in also shows he had qualifications in Science, Medicine and Law all highly respected professions. "Henry Jekyll, M.D., D.C.L, LL.D, F.R.C, &c". The amount of study needed for these qualifications would have been enormous, this shows how dedicated to his work Jekyll is. The views of good and evil in our time and in Stephenson's would have been very different. ...read more.

Middle

He is also very popular and brings most of the characters together by his friendships, "Where Utterson was liked, he was liked well". Stevenson uses Utterson to tell the reader what to think and feel during the novel, he does this by expressing Uttersons feelings in the book, but with Utterson being the narrator the reader sees things from his point of view therefor he is the readers eyes and ears. This is good because his inquisitive nature means most of the major events in the plot are based around him. This brings the reader into the novel. You can also tell Utterson is very loyal because of his long term friendships wit h Lanyon and Jekyll. Utterson mistrusts Hyde from the first time he sees him, "The look of him, even at that distance went somehow against the watchers inclinations. This quote means that even at a long distance Utterson takes a dislike to Hyde. This tells the reader how evil Hyde is, that someone can tell what he is like from his exterior. Another key character is Dr Jekyll he is a highly respected physician, scientist and lawyer. But underneath his pleasant exterior is a man ripped in two by contradictory desires. Jekyll has great desire to commit evil deeds but to balance this he does many good deeds. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think this is great because it keeps the audience now and when it was published, guessing at what drove Dr Jekyll to those ends. In addition, the way the story is narrated through the eyes of Utterson for the first chapters is very effective because it brings the reader into the mystery that he is trying to solve. The effect of this method is that the reader is brought into the plot because they feel they are trying to solve the mystery through Uttersons eyes because he is the narrator. The moral of the text in my opinion is that humans are made up of good and evil, so no body can be perfect because there will always be something under the surface that will, no matter how the person appears, be bad. For instance the way Dr Jekyll is so pleasant on the exterior but under the surface he has the evil of Hyde hiding in him. In 1886 this could have related to the debate over evolution and that humans may not be as perfect as people would think. Now it could relate to the debate over modifying babies DNA while they are still in the womb. I think because the novel shows that if you mess with the way humans are made it will end in tragedy. 12345678910 Overall in my opinion Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a book which still remains to have relevance to situations 100 years after it was written because of Robert Louis Stevenson's vivid writing style and intriguing plot. ...read more.

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