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An analysis of good and evil in Jekyll and Hyde

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Introduction

In common parlance, Jekyll and Hyde mean good and evil. To what extent, having read the novel, is this true? Write about: * Is Hyde pure evil? * To what extent is Jekyll a good man? * Show how a late Victorian society is reflected in Jekyll and Hyde's duality. Part One - Is Hyde Pure Evil? Throughout the novel, a series of vicious crimes committed by Hyde point to his nature as a purely evil and malicious person, with no evidence to the contrary. The Hyde displayed in the book shows no signs of morality, carrying out malevolent crimes ruthlessly, completely unhindered by any form of ethics. Even his very creator claims that "Edward Hyde, alone, in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil." The first incident which points to Hyde's evil is his trampling of the little girl, as told by Mr. Enfield, the cousin of Mr. Utterson, lawyer and narrator in the novel. Hyde collides with a little girl at a corner of a street, and, instead of stepping aside and apologizing, he "trampled calmly over the child's body," enjoying it thoroughly, like a "Juggernaut." Hyde was brought back by force and threatened by the witnesses of his ghastly deed, carrying a "kind of black sneering coolness," in spite of the "circle of hateful faces" by which he was surrounded. Hyde's next crime is the monstrous murder of a high-ranking police officer, Sir Danvers Carew. ...read more.

Middle

Even Jekyll, Hyde's creator, has objections to the deeply immoral acts of Hyde, claiming that "that child of Hell had nothing human; nothing lived in him but fear and hatred." Jekyll provides comments on Hyde's "vicarious depravity" in his confession, saying that Hyde's crimes were "monstrous", and that Hyde himself was "tenfold more wicked [than]... [his] original evil." Although Jekyll was addicted to the pleasures that Hyde brought him, Hyde "had more than a son's indifference" towards his creator, and used him only as a way to escape after having committed a crime, remembering him only "as the bandit remembers the cavern in which he conceals himself from pursuit." Hyde as, in other terms, completely indifferent to anyone else than him, and was completely unobstructed by morality when carrying out his relentless crimes. Hyde's estate also betrays a lot about him as a person. His area was a dingy and defiled neighborhood, with "muddy ways and slatternly passages," and gave an overall feeling of a deprived district, a "city in a nightmare." Hyde's house had "no doorbell or knocker," and bore the marks of "prolonged negligance." The surroundings were "blackguardly," and gave the general impression of a house uncared for, used only as a place of refuge and temporary stay between various outings. Part Two - To What Extent is Jekyll a Good Man? Jekyll is an ambiguous character with two sharply contrasting sides - the wealthy, friendly and highly thought of man that he shows off to the world, and the secret part which he ...read more.

Conclusion

Even the most respectable, wealthy men had secret, private indulgences. The times in which Stevenson writes his novel is one where the woman was sacred and the "sanctity of marriage proclaimed from every pulpit," as John Fowles puts it, yet also a place where "one in sixty houses was a brothel," and where the output of pornography had never been exceeded. This deeply hypocritical society is reflected in the characters of Jekyll and Hyde. Jekyll, a middle-aged wealthy doctor, is the symbol for the respectable part of London, the part which it shows off and wants to be perceived as the real London, whereas Hyde symbolizes the concealed side of London: the underworld of hidden vice and pleasures. Hyde is the very epitome of the occurrences in the underground world, although Stevenson is careful not to mention exactly what crimes Hyde is involved in, for fear of censorship. Being a man of pure malice and evil, one can only imagine the barbaric deeds of Hyde. Hyde's estate in a "dismal part of Soho" also reflects him as a person. Jekyll on the surface is a highly regarded doctor, a devout believer and religious man with an intricate social network, overall, a decent man deserving respect. In reality, however, he has a burning desire to . In such was, he is the symbol for what was supposed to be the respectable and proper upper class, who in reality were frequenters of the hidden sides of London, and although it is Hyde who physically commits the deeds, Jekyll still enjoys it and continues to transform. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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