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Discuss Stevenson's portrayal of the dual nature of man's personality in the novel: Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Introduction

Discuss Stevenson's portrayal of the dual nature of man's personality in the novel: Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson's novel "The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" was deeply influenced by a number of diverse factors. Stevenson came from a family with a history of lawyers, doctors and other similar professions. His nanny was a very devoted Christian and from a young age used to teach him wrong from right. The novel was based on a nightmare he had and he constructed it from there. Another factor is Darwin's theory of evolution; in "The origin of species" published in 1859 in it he states that men are descended from apes. Another factor which very much influenced Stevenson's portrayal of the duality of man was Sigmund Freud's psychological theory. laws. According to Freud, we are all born with our own [1]id, an important part of our personality because it allows us to get our basic needs met. Freud believed that the id is based on our pleasure principle. In other words, the id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation. ...read more.

Middle

bad his mission was to find a drug that separates the two so that they two do not have to live in constant competition. We can tell that Stevenson used Freud's ideas in when he says; "The man is not truly one but two" this is the basis of Dr. Jekyll's identity. The two identities contrast with each other very much. Dr. Jekyll is a highly respected member of the community; everyone looks up to him and expects the best he is described as a "A large well made smooth faced man of about fifty." He is also said to be slightly sly however he is exactly the opposite and very kind; "Something of a slyish cast perhaps but every mark of capacity and kindness". Overall he is portrayed as a very philanthropic character. During the whole course of the novel, as I mentioned before, there is a constant link between the character of Hyde and animalistic images. Hyde is also described to be big, clumsy and childlike: Whenever he is described in the duration of the book the person always says his eccentricity can not be identified. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jekyll has imprisoned himself both literally and figuratively. Just as he has literally imprisoned himself, Jekyll feels imprisoned by the constraints of society and this feeling motivates his precarious experiments with Mr. Hyde. In my opinion Hyde represents the id in society. It is obviously unacceptable in society to fulfill these inner desires no matter how tempted you are. Hyde however commits some very gruesome crimes at the beginning of the novel he "Tramples calmly over a child's body" later on in the novel he also murders Sir Danvers Carew with a cane. When Lanyon sees that Dr. Jekyll has left all his possessions to Hyde he suspects that he is blackmailing him: "Poor Harry Jekyll....my mind misgives me he is in deep waters". No one however at any time suspects such a ludicrous idea as two polarized personalities. In these times it was thought very unorthodox and deeply discourteous to even have such thoughts. It was very much an idea of religion in opposition to science. In conclusion, we can see Stevenson has explained that the struggle between the two natures of man cannot exist. He states that in order for both to exist we must suppress the inner desires which are unacceptable within society. ...read more.

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