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

Discuss the ways in which Robert Louis Stevenson explores the theme of duality in the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the ways in which Robert Louis Stevenson explores the theme of duality in the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' was written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886 and knowingly or not he entwined it with the theme of duality all through the book. Evidence of this can be found all through the book, such as Dr Jekyll being kind, respectable and intelligent while Mr Hyde is brutal, despised and pure evil. Duality can be described as 'two fundamental principles, often in opposition to each other' and this is found frequently throughout the book. Another way of putting it is that duality is 'a classification into two opposed parts or subclasses'. This is important as Jekyll and Hyde differed greatly in attitude and form, showing duality. Stevenson's childhood is a big factor in the theme of duality. He suffered from breathing problems, was undernourished and smaller than most, which was similar to Hyde leading many people to speculate that he based it on himself, though there is no evidence of that. Robert Louis Stevenson was brought up by a strictly religious nurse called 'Cummy' who made him believe that he could go to hell every night, resulting in him finishing most sentences with 'if I am spared' shows he thought he could be, like Hyde. ...read more.


It was not only Jekyll and Hyde that have a theme of duality in, Stevenson's other book 'The Body Snatcher' which has a respectable doctor, who wanted bodies to examine and the legal amount of convicted criminals did not measure up to their needs. Therefore, he went to the black market and got bodies, eventually ending up doing it himself. This showed that Stevenson had explored the theme of duality before his book on Jekyll and Hyde. Even from the very beginning Stevenson is introducing duality with Mr Utterson being 'Lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable'. He uses four adjectives to get the readers attention by using two similar pairs and then a contrasting finish. 'Yet somehow lovable' gives the image of a kind, matured man who has a multitude of views about him. This again echoes the theme of duality and starts to bring in the duality of a character. The characters emphasise the duality in their appearance with Hyde being ugly and deformed, Utterson describes him with 'he gave an impression of deformity without any nameable malformation' showing Hyde to be repulsive and his 'long scrawny fingers' which are associated with the lower class, whereas Dr Jekyll is described as being quite large showing ...read more.


Also blood is usually thick and strong so 'thin' must show some sort of weakness as he realises the loss of control. 'Exquisitely could also have been used to describe Hyde and show some sort of attachment to the side that had given him enjoyment in life. All these show that the two extremes of his nature cannot remain separate for much longer and one side would have to fold, the stronger, evil side takes over and starts to reach freedom. Jekyll also said that the potion 'severed me in those provinces of good and ill which divide and compound a man's dual nature'. Stevenson used 'severed to show that it was a sharp, swift cut of his two sides, the evil one and the good. He also uses 'provinces to describe the personalities showing that they are not straight black and white lines but that the difference of good and ill can be faded and hazy. Jekyll believes that man has a dual nature and Stevenson may have put this in to implant ideas in your mind. Therefore, duality is expressed by Jekyll in his last chapter. In conclusion, Stevenson explores the theme of duality in many ways through the duality of the setting, the characters and Stevenson's life which was as split in two as Jekyll and Hyde. ...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. How does Robert Louis Stevenson explore the duality of human nature in Dr Jekyll ...

    Stevenson meant for Jekyll's name to be pronounced as if it were French-Je KILL. "Je" in French means "I": I kill subtly emphasizing Jekyll's 'evil' side. Unlike how Hyde is described within the novella, Jekyll is given more providence and a much more of a pleasant character consistently described as being an 'honourable' man and 'good doctor' by his friends.

  2. Explore and analyse the significance of the setting in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” ...

    This is a precursor and gives dramatic structure to the story. In the same way, because Jekyll and Hyde have two minds, they are separated by two entrances; this is example of duality. Jekyll's house is another example of duality, because in Chapter 1, the rest of the street is described in a positive way, but Jekyll's is the opposite.

  1. Discuss the idea of duality in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. ...

    They then walk "on once more in silence." Silence is a key motif in the book as Enfield and Utterson cut off their discussion of Hyde in the first chapter out of distaste for gossip; Utterson refuses to share his suspicions about Jekyll throughout his investigation.

  2. Jekyll and Hyde chapter by chapter summary.

    Utterson and Mr. Enfield have more questions, rather than less, about Jekyll, Hyde, and their relationship. The iron bars on the window of Jekyll�s house are also significantly symbolic. To Jekyll and Utterson, and to the rest of the world at large, Jekyll has imprisoned himself both literally and figuratively.

  1. Dr Jeykll and Mr Hyde. The Duality Theme

    Therefore, as Jekyll and Hyde are of one body, they are completely different. The good side of Jekyll is when he is himself. When he is Jekyll, he is a very respectable and rich gentleman, representing what was valued in Victorian society!

  2. Examine the Representation of Good and Evil, and the dual nature of humans, in ...

    Obviously, Lanyon doesn't believe Jekyll's idea of duality in humans, and so Jekyll strives to prove his point, and soon loses control over Hyde's actions. When he finally presents himself to Lanyon, the shock kills Lanyon. This could symbolise that the scientific world is too narrow minded, and are not

  1. How successful is the first chapter of 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and ...

    An example of a simile is when Mr Enfield talks about Hyde after he walks over the young child. Enfield says, "I could see that - but carrying it off, sir, really like Satan." This creates an image in the reader's head of Hyde looking like Satan.

  2. Man is not truly one, but truly two. Show how Stevenson explores this idea ...

    Andrew Motion thinks these two doors themselves are used to represent the change ? ?as each opens or closes it leads characters into different parts of themselves.? For both Dr. Jekyll and John Hunter, behind the backdoor was where their ?balderdash? took place and no one was allowed to steal a look because they were ?monsters? there.

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