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"Discuss the representation of evil withinStevenson's 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'".

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Introduction

'THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE' - ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON "Discuss the representation of evil within Stevenson's 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'" Stevenson's "Jekyll and Hyde" is an examination and comment on mankind's dual-nature and society's need to allow the existence of one type of behaviour. Jekyll is a product of this society and Hyde is his alter ego. Stevenson creates evil within Victorian London and explores its effect and the public reaction to it. He allows it to grow leading to tragic consequences. Evil is represented in many ways, much of which is centred on Hyde himself and society's rejection to him. Victorian London was a dark, foggy, mysterious place, there were a lot of back alleys and secret hideouts in that town, where absolutely anything could happen, "London was startled by a crime of singular ferocity", "...a fog rolled over the city," (both p31) This was the perfect setting for a book like "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" because there wasn't a setting to create, it was already there for Stevenson to use. The book is a mysterious gothic-horror, involving murders. With London the scene is already set for a book like this, with all the dark, dingy, old and smelly back-alleys, anything could happen, "...some city in a nightmare." (p34) Jekyll and Hyde was in many ways, similar to the events around Jack the Ripper, it was also written at about the same time as those events happened, so it was constantly compared to it, even though the two were totally different and not related in anyway, and neither influenced the other. The reason for their comparisons is the fact that they both involved murders, both also involved people having two sides to their personalities, Hyde is the evil person, while Jekyll is the respectable public face. Jack the Ripper was a murderer, and his public face was a respectable doctor (or who they thought was a respectable doctor)`, who no one would have ever expected to be murdering people. ...read more.

Middle

He has no conscience, he just doesn't care about anything, and he doesn't feel any regret for anything he has done, and he doesn't feel any remorse for any of the murders he has committed. He also relies totally on his instincts, he always follows his instincts like an animal. He has no moral values. He is only concerned with pleasure he gets out of being anti-social. Hyde represents evil in us all, he represents our animal ape-like instincts and origins, he is the beast in man. Hyde is used to show the reader the evil within us all, he is the essence of evil within us all. Evil is used through Hyde to show appearance and actions of an evil person. In the book, Hyde commits one, possibly two murders. The definite murder was Sir Danvers Carew who Hyde batters to death with a walking stick. The other is a little girl who Hyde trampled over, of which he felt nothing. When he trampled over the girl, he was like an animal. Hyde "trampled calmly over the child's body and left her screaming on the ground...it was hellish to see." (p14) "trampled calmly" is an oxymoron, which is something that contradicts itself. You don't imagine trampled and calmly together, you think trampled angrily, ferociously or horribly. He is like an animal "a damned juggernaut" (p14) like a beast, a monster, just stamping on things, crushing everything as he goes. When he was killing Carew, he was described has having "insensitive cruelty" (p32), he feels no remorse for what he has done to Danvers Carew. When people see him they want to kill him, his face brings a "sweat out... like running", (p14) he has a grotesque appearance, "downright detestable", "I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why."(p17) He is so ugly, an evil ugly, people can't work out why they hate his appearance, they think he has some sort of deformity, which they can't quite spot, they don't know why they hate his appearance, and they don't know why they want to kill him. ...read more.

Conclusion

They would have been told to speak in a specific way, a told how to act. "Did you ever remark that door? ...Indeed." (p5) I think that the old style, archaic language isn't used deliberately and is a product of the era in which the book was written. It is the formal style of Victorian England, it is the way things were done in those days, "...a man of rugged countenance," (p3). It is the style in which we wrote that happens to compliment the mysterious and confusing nature of the book. During the book Hyde's speech gets more erratic and more informal as the book goes on, becoming more and more uncivilized. He becomes more and more evil during the book, less and less in control of himself. "Tell him I can't see anyone." (p42) that isn't polite or formal at all. First person narrative is a very powerful force in the book, as it gives you a much better insight into what is going on, and it makes us feel as if we are better in touch with the book, as if we are there. Third person is very clever as you are told the story from someone who has already been told it, and you are only given selective pieces of information for good reason, so the story unfold in a order as to make the story much more powerful. I think letters are great because you are reading them as if the characters are reading them, and you read the story at the same times the characters read the letters. In conclusion Stevenson uses a range of techniques and style to convey the development of the story and make the reader feel more in touch with the events in the story. He does this to great effect making you feel as if you are there, a invisible person in the story. Shaun Gunner ENGLISH EN2 AND ENGLISH LITERATURE COURSEWORK 10AN Miss Dopson 17th March 2003 Page 1 ...read more.

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