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A study of Robert Louis Stevenson's use of settings, characters and symbolism in 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and MR Hyde'

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Introduction

English coursework 'The strange case of Dr Jekyll and MR Hyde' By Robert Louis Stevenson A study of Robert Louis Stevenson's use of settings, characters and symbolism in 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and MR Hyde' Robert Louis Stevenson was born on the November 13th, 1850 in Edinburgh as the son of Thomas Stevenson, joint-engineer to the Board of Northern Lighthouses. Since his childhood Stevenson suffered from tuberculosis. In 1867 he entered Edinburgh University to study engineering, but soon changed to law and then devoted his life to writing. He had a wife Fanny, whom he married in 1880. He ended his life as a tribal leader in Vailima, in Samoa before he died on December 3, 1894. Stevenson died of a brain hemorrhage, aged 44. The symbolism starts with his birth place Edinburgh, it has a new town and an old town, the new town is where the university was and it would have been where the well to do people would be and the old town would have been where the slums of the city were. This is the start of symbolism because it shows duality like Dr Jekyll being Mr Hyde. Stevenson was around in the 19th century Victorian England when the industrial revolution was at its high a great time for new discoveries and really Stevenson could have been a great inventor if he had stayed in engineering. I think that Stevenson could have been influenced by these great discoveries in 'The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' with Dr Jekyll's crazy new idea of metamorphosing and know one ...read more.

Middle

Edward Hyde, he lay on the floor wearing clothes that were too big for him there was a smell of drugs in the air. It appeared that he had committed suicide as they were breaking down the door; he had taken arsenic "the strong smell of kernels that hung upon the air" and this is what he died of, arsenic poisoning. Stevenson uses a 'multiple perspective' technique where we receive the story from more than one viewpoint unlike the rest of the book which is in 'third person' in this chapter, "Doctor Lanyons Narrative" it is a letter from Jekyll to Lanyon and then it is Lanyons thoughts and events that followed from the letter. Again there is more symbolism used about secrets and again it is breaking in and letting out secrets but this time it's into Jekyll's cabinet. Again it was very hard to get in and took two hours again this is more secrets let out into the open. This chapter is about Lanyon finding out how the potion is made up and finding out what he said was impossible. The fog in the city is yet more symbolism because the fog is described as being dark fog and the above it the sun shining brightly this is showing duality and again like the old and new town within the city. The weather also reflected the novel so say when the secrets are out then the fog lifts this is called pathetic fallacy so the weather reflects the mood of the novel you always picture something sad with it raining heavily and something happy with the sun shining brightly this is also an extensive use of symbolism. ...read more.

Conclusion

Its has if Dr Jekyll can't cope with the evil in side him because its not what he wants to be like and associated with. I think that it is also so he can lead the double life that he wants to, he can socialise in the new town with his high class society of people that he likes to socialise with or he can go into the old town as Mr Hyde and do what ever he wants with any and not be found out by the up class people he likes to be with. All the main characters are hypocrites they all are repulsed off Jekyll yet when it comes to facing there own evilness they can't I see this as them tearing there bodies in half. One half good being repelled from the other half bad I say this because if they are repulsed off Hyde's evilness then they must surly repulse of their own evilness in themselves. There was a lot of hypocrisy in the Victorian era Stevenson couldn't go into great detail about murder and crime and things like that this is because back in the 19th century the public would have to have been protected with a censorship anything to do with the arts and media would have been censored but a lot higher then we know it today. There were ways to get around the censorship though this would have been done by using an allusion and doing something indirectly. An example of this is that in this novel did you know that Hyde, Jekyll, and Danvers were supposed to be 'up to something'? We never really get to know about this in the novel though because of censorship. ...read more.

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