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Discuss Stevenson's portrayal of the nature of "good" and "evil" and the dual nature of mans' personality in Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

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Introduction

Discuss Stevenson's portrayal of the nature of "good" and "evil" and the dual nature of mans' personality in Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde In "Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" Mr. Hyde is portrayed as being evil. Mr. Enfield describes him to Utterson as having something wrong with his appearance, something detestable. He then continues to say how he dislikes him and doesn't know why. He believes him to be deformed but can't say where it is. Stevenson uses the words "detestable, deformed and extraordinary looking" to describe Mr. Hyde to give a sense of evil and mystery about him. Everyone who he meets hates him except they don't know why but can tell there is something evil about Mr. Hyde. Hyde's physical ugliness and deformity symbolizes his lack of morals and strange manner. Though a 19th Century audience might have seen the connection of ugliness and Hyde's evilness as more than symbolic. Also as Hyde is quite small, this may be because it represents Jekyll's evil side, which has been repressed for many years and not been able to grow. ...read more.

Middle

But he realizes that it is normal and the body is a combination of both good and evil. Throughout the book there is a belief in dual nature, though this does not emerge until the last chapter. Dual nature is a very big theme in the book and we come to this theme after witnessing all the events in the book after reading Dr. Lanyon's narrative. Jekyll believes the soul is being where an "angel" and a "fiend" fight to master the body. Jekyll reflects on the theme of dual nature by saying "All human beings .... are commingled out of good and evil. Jekyll wants to separate the identities the good side being good and the bad side being bad. He wants to do this to see if he can separate both dual nature's of man. Jekyll developed the potions to do this but Jekyll only succeeds in creating one pure evil one as in Mr. Hyde. At first Jekyll enjoys having his dark side in purest from which he admits to Utterson in his letter. "It seemed natural and human. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stevenson uses symbolism for Dr Jekyll's house and the laboratory. Dr Jekyll's house is quite a nice home described as having "a great air of wealth and comfort" and the laboratory is described as "a certain sinister block of building". The laboratory obviously symbolizes Mr. Hyde, as it is very neglected and decayed and the nice, well-kept house symbolizes Mr. Jekyll. The connection of the house and the laboratory is also a symbol. The building although connected look on two different streets and therefore it is quite hard to see that the two buildings are as one just like someone would be unable to know of the relationship of Henry Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Also as stated earlier Mr. Hyde's small build may symbolize Dr. Jekyll's dark side. Stevenson's final message is that If you deny your dark side you will end up regretting it as it will build up then one day explode in an action i.e. killing someone or doing something very bad. Also that you shouldn't give your dark side an inch otherwise it will take it a mile. Everyone has a dark side you just have to balance it correctly. ...read more.

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