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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Introduction

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Coursework Man is not truly one but truly two writes Dr. Jekyll in his full statement of the case. In a way this idea of Stevenson's foretells Sigmund Freud's theory of the constantly fighting Id (inner child); ego (the part restrained by the self) and the superego (the restraint picked up from society). In both Freud's and Stevenson's ideas, the different parts of the psyche are constantly fighting Victorian society was very restrained: table legs had to covered up for fear of men seeing them as women's legs, it was a bit like the Christian right of the U.S.A today with capitalism, patriotism, individualism, organised religion and sexual morality all very strong. All this meant that each person had a very strong superego: Mr. Hyde was someone, or something that had no superego or ego. He was like a child: he took what he wanted when he wanted it. Despite the imposed morality of the time, there were a lot of double standards. Most of the concepts of morality are also contradicted. Karl Marx, a political writer and thinker at the time saw society as the struggle between the two classes, another double, the upper class (the bourgeoisie) ...read more.

Middle

What is this disgrace? Stevenson also explores the ongoing conflict between good and evil: clearly Jekyll is good and Hyde is evil. Stevenson saw clear differences between good and evil but saw them in every person as 'incongruous faggots that were thus bound together - that in the agonized womb of consciousness, these polar twins should be constantly struggling.' Dr. Jekyll tried to find a way to separate the two parts of man. But, If he created the evil part (Hyde) surely Jekyll after taking the potion to turn into Hyde would be all good: If he was all good then he would not take the potion to turn himself into an all evil person because he knew that he could cause harm to others. I think that it is flawed to call someone all evil or all good, there is a question of where the ideas of good and evil come from, we are told that something is good or evil, we pick it up from society. Some people say that the ideas of good and evil come from God or the church: if the church or society thought that it was good to kill people and evil to save their lives would it be? ...read more.

Conclusion

I didn't know the story of Dr. Jekyll and Hyde: I thought that they were two separate people, but I found out before I started reading it. When The Strange case was first published in 1886, people did not have any ideas or misconceptions of the book picked up from televised adaptations and adverts. 8 of the 10 chapters are written like a detective story, gradually revealing small bits of information. I think that to properly enjoy this book, even though it is by such an enduring novelist as Stevenson, you have to put yourself in the perspective of the intended audience. Although Stevenson hints at a lot of different things or we can see parallels with many other concepts, really this is a book with two main themes or struggles: good versus evil; and science versus nature. These are two quite ordinary subjects for stories. Maybe the book does raise questions about the boundaries science should have but in the end, it draws conclusions that science is overreaching and should stop. This is a rather backward way of looking at science and clearly it hasn't and the world continues to go round. Good and evil has been the subject of stories since the first ever book of stories: the Bible. This is hardly 'profoundly allegorical as reviewers said at the time. ...read more.

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