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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

"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.

Conclusion

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.

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