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

Discuss Stevenson's representation of evil and the concept of duality in 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. How was Stevenson influenced by the concerns of his era?

Extracts from this document...


Discuss Stevenson's representation of evil and the concept of duality in 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. How was Stevenson influenced by the concerns of his era? Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a classic novel telling the story of the struggle between good and evil. The good being shown in the form of a well-respected Doctor Henry Jekyll and the evil being released from a lengthy repression in the form of Mr Edward Hyde. In my essay I will be concentrating on the influences of the Victorian age and how Stevenson involved aspects of his own life into the writing of the book. The 64 years from 1837 to 1901, which was the Victorian age, was a repressive society to live in. There were strict codes of morality, which meant that everyone had to look, sound and more importantly act in a certain way. Society was very judgemental and a single step out of line and your reputation could be crushed. Middle class men, like Stevenson, were expected to work hard and treat women with a high amount of respect. ...read more.


Like an animal, Hyde used his instincts to tell him what to do, and followed them fully. The imagery of Hyde being animal like is portrayed in the sentence of the book on page 21, "Mr Hyde shrank back with a hissing intake of breath", this gives us the impression of Hyde being a snake like creature. Also on page 52 Hyde is described as "crying out like a rat". Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde couldn't be more different. They may be the same person in one sense but they are two completely individual people in any other. Dr Jekyll, for example, loves to socialise and be around friends, whereas Hyde would rather be cooped up in his home in Soho or wondering the streets, alone, and finding people to victimise. They are also very different in appearance as well as personality, Jekyll is described to be "a large, well made, smooth faced man of fifty" whereas Hyde is described as a "very small gentleman" who is "particularly wicked looking". Some things about them are similar though, things that would not change whether you are evil or good, like handwriting or their taste in d�cor. ...read more.


It was not only Dr Jekyll who was given two sides in the novel; both Utterson and Lanyon were also brought into the theme of duality. It seems to completely depend on the environment in which you live and your surroundings as to how much of your good or evil side you can let out without it seeming inappropriate. Stevenson is saying that humans possess both good and evil and it's up to the individual person how much of their evil side they let out. Hyde may have been a product of the repressive Victorian society but he was also the product of a man who wasn't happy with being the perfect role model, everyone needs to be able to let out things and if the only way that Jekyll was able to do that was creating what seems like a monster then that was what had to be done. It would be great to be able to let off steam without having to face the consequences and by creating a good and an evil side to one person Stevenson showed that the only way this is possible is to completely change the human ways. It is therefore shown that if we want to release our evil or bad sides we have to take the consequences for our actions. ...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. Explore how Stevenson has presented the character of Mr. Hyde. Comment on how the ...

    it is a part of him: "it seemed more express and single". Therefore, the reader is not expected to feel shocked when Jekyll says "human beings...are commingled out of good and evil", as Jekyll has just explained that good and evil co-exist in a person and that it is impossible

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

    He gave the lawyer a "sort of murderous mixture of timidity and boldness". Hyde acts as though he is confused mentally. When Hyde asks politely for the potion in chapter nine, he behaves quite considerably and mature for an evil side of a person.

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

    the door, and in essence opens questions to the reader - a device used widely in the building up of suspense and tension. The imagery of the unwanted transformation overnight vividly helps the reader to picture the scene and series of events more clearly.

  2. How does Stevenson present the conflict between good and evil in Dr Jekyll and ...

    barely changes his stiff routine even during emergencies such as Carew's death. Utterson appears to be well-liked and trustable in general, as both Jekyll and Lanyon regard him as a good friend and it is said that "hosts loved to detain the dry lawyer."

  1. Jekyll and Hyde chapter by chapter summary.

    The letter thanked Jekyll for his kindness and urged him that he did not need to worry over his safety, as he had a sure means of escape. Dr. Jekyll, however, did not have the envelope because he claimed that he burned it.

  2. Chapter 1: Story of the Door

    Consequently, Hyde launches a desperate search across London for this potion. The new potion, however, was "without efficiency," because the first supply was impure and that unknown impurity made the draught effective. The last paragraph of the book is extremely poignant, alternating between the perspective of Hyde and Jekyll Hyde

  1. Dr Jeykll and Mr Hyde. The Duality Theme

    lower classed individuals .However during this period there was much hypocrisy around. Although there was polite, well-groomed exterior there seem to be a hidden interior which was evil and sin. Stevenson explores this issue in Jekyll and Hyde, and, taken from Darwin's (famous 19th century writer)

  2. How does Stevenson present good and evil in "Jekyll and Hyde"?The Victorian era in ...

    Banardo were secretly Jack the Ripper. This shows that not even the most rich or influential Victorians could escape the truth of what went on in the slums. Stevenson emphasizes this fragmentation of society by creating the two opposing characters of Dr. Lanyon and Dr. Jekyll.

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