• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analyse how R.L Stevenson explores the issue of the Duality of Human Nature in His Novel "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde"

Extracts from this document...


Analyse how R.L Stevenson explores the issue of the Duality of Human Nature in His Novel "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" Robert Louis Stevenson was born on the 13th of November 1850 in the city of Edinburgh. As a child he had health problems, however, he still managed to become one of the most respected authors of Victorian adventure stories. After travelling through Europe, Stevenson returned to London where he wrote prolifically over the next decade. He won widespread admiration for writing "Treasure Island" a text that he wrote in 1883. "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" came out in 1886, it was met with tremendous success; it sold 40,000 copies in six months, this ensured Stevenson's fame as a writer. The main focus of this analysis is to address the issue of the duality of human nature in Stevenson's novel "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde". A definition of the duality of human nature is the two varying sides of a human's personality, for example, good and bad. At the time when Stevenson wrote "Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde", Queen Victoria was on the throne. This period was a particularly unstable one in British history. The Victorian era began and ended in crisis, with constant economic difficulties. The nineteenth century was often concerned with the concept of a "double self" or a "twin". This genre began with a narrative with a type of double when Mary Shelley created the novel "Frankenstein" in 1818. ...read more.


"My position is a very strange- a very strange one. It is one of those affairs that cannot be mended by talking". Jekyll rarely becomes angry or annoyed, however, later in the story, when he realises that he has turned into Hyde for good he becomes more desperate and distressed. In contrast to the behaviour of Jekyll, Hyde is a very impulsive and violent character who is easily provoked to attack other people, which is an action that he carries out on a couple of occasions in the novel. "The two ran into one another naturally enough at the corner, then came the horrible part of the thing; for the man trampled calmly over the child's body and left her screaming on the ground... it was hellish to see". In the last quote Stevenson uses contrasting language "trampled calmly"; this is to make the attack seem even more alarming; making it seem that Hyde was unphased by the attack. Above is a clear indication of their contrasting behaviours and actions, Jekyll is very calm and always thinks things through thoroughly before carrying out action. On the other hand, Hyde is extremely impulsive and reacts irrationally to situations where he cannot control his anger and keep himself calm. Stevenson has ensured that the personalities and behaviours of Jekyll and Hyde are directly contrasting so that the duality of human nature is clearer and easier to understand. The final way in which Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are to be compared is the differing reactions of society towards them. ...read more.


Chilling visions of the city appear in Utterson's nightmares as well. The text notes that he would be aware of the great field of lamps of a nocturnal city. "The figure of Hyde haunted the lawyer all night; and if at any time he dozed over, it was but to see it glide more stealthily through sleeping houses, or more swiftly through wider labyrinths of lamp-lighted city and at every street corner crush a child and leave her screaming". In such images, Stevenson points out Hyde as an urban creature, utterly at home in the darkness of London, where countless crimes take place, the novel suggests without anyone knowing. In the novel "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde", the author Robert Louis Stevenson has explored the issue of the duality of human nature by using the example of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Stevenson may well believe that every human has two sides to them, one good and one bad. In this novel he suggests that the bad side of human nature can easily take control if it is released as symbolised by the character of Mr Hyde. The story suggests that Stevenson believes that once the evil side of human nature is released, it can be controlled at first; however, it slowly takes control, and instead of being half of human nature, evil takes over completely. In my opinion Stevenson has successfully explored the issue of the duality of human nature and fully expressed his views upon this subject as well as others that were relevant at the time this novel was written. ?? ?? ?? ?? James Perryman ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    What are the Main Difficulties for a twenty-first Century reader in fully appreciating Dr ...

    5 star(s)

    From my experience, books in the twenty first century use the separation through chapters solely to give structure and as a way of making it more reader friendly, but 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' uses the chapters as an aid to convey the point that he is trying to get across.

  2. How does R.L. Stevenson create fear and suspense in the novel " The Strange ...

    Since the book has been written in the Victorian times, we see Stevenson's language making constant criticisms on human pretense. Dr. Jekyll wanted Edward Hyde to "pass away like a stain of breath upon a mirror." This simile signifies the complacence of Dr.

  1. How does Robert Louis Stevenson explore the duality of human nature in Dr Jekyll ...

    This is the side of Jekyll which he himself wants to be rid of. However, he ends up being a 'slave' and 'underdog' to his 'evil' side, which is Hyde. Additionally, we are led to believe that Jekyll kill's himself to be rid of Hyde forever.

  2. Explore the ways in which Hyde is presented to the reader during the reader ...

    Victorians feared Darwin was right. Right at the beginning of the novella, when Enfield feels that there are no words to describe Hyde, suggests that Hyde again represents the immoral side to the Victorian society, because no Victorian could have an appearance so ugly or "deformed".

  1. How does Stevenson create intrigue in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

    Mr Utterson reads the letter, but the actual reader cannot tell what the contents of the mysterious letter are because the contents of the letter are not described. The reader wants to know what the contents of the letter are, so they want to read on because they are interested and engaged.

  2. "Man is not truly one, but truly two" - A discussion on how this ...

    It seemed natural and human. In my eyes it bore a livelier image of the spirit... than the imperfect and divided countenance I had hitherto been accustomed to call mine.' This long extract reveals Jekyll's fatal attraction to the thing that was 'alone in the ranks of mankind, pure evil.'

  1. Jekyll and Hyde Essay; How does R. L. Stevenson convey the dual nature of ...

    uses this information to show the dual nature of man's personality being that they know it's true but don't want to hear it, or make it exist. In the novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde the character Dr Jekyll is seen to be a respectable man

  2. How does R. L. Stevenson create horror and suspense in the novel 'Dr Jekyll ...

    This door creates secrecy and suspense because it is always locked and you can only enter with a key, also the windows are always shut. At the start of this chapter we are immediately introduced to one of the main characters, Mr Utterson; he appears complex as there are contradictions

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work