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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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How does Robert Louis Stevenson explore the duality of human nature in the strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a dramatic novella written in 1885 by Robert Louis Stevenson, based on the streets of London. This novella is about a man and his dramatic struggle between his good and bad side. This novella starts with Enfield and Utterson taking their weekly walk, and Enfield tells Utterson that that he saw Mr Hyde trampling a girl and paying off her family. Mr Utterson, Dr Jekyll's lawyer, reads through Dr Jekyll's will - In case of his disappearance or death, all his possessions go to Mr Hyde. Utterson sees Hyde unlocking Jekyll's laboratory door. Utterson is shocked by the sense of evil coming from him. Utterson goes to talk to Jekyll, but he tells Utterson to drop the subject. Hyde beats Sir Danvers Carew to death with a stick. A maid who witnesses this calls the police and tells them that it was Hyde. Utterson receives a letter from Jekyll, supposedly written by Hyde, but the handwriting turned out to be Jekyll's, just slanted in the opposite direction. Dr Lanyon, Jekyll's old friend, dies, leaving a letter for Utterson to open after the death or disappearance of Dr Jekyll. ...read more.


his features seemed to melt and alter." This explores the duality of human nature because we see that Jekyll has turned into Hyde, his darker half, so this is suggesting that man really does have two halves. While doing his scientific experiments, Jekyll claims "Man is not truly one, but truly two." In Jekyll's opinion, everybody has two halves, one side being strong than the other. In the novella Jekyll was originally stronger, but he knew he had some evil in him, as he had urges to do wicked things. By taking the potion he thinks he can separate these two halves of himself, but he does not realize that the two halves are both a part of him, therefore cannot be separated, as one half cannot survive without the other. No matter how terrible the acts Hyde commits, Jekyll doesn't feel a slight bit of guilt when taking the potion to become Hyde. In fact, he makes excuses for his actions as Hyde. "Henry Jekyll stood at times aghast before the acts of Edward Hyde," Jekyll writes, trying to justify himself, "It was Hyde, after all, and Hyde alone, that was guilty." Jekyll cannot blame everything on Hyde, as it was him who repeatedly brought Hyde into the world, so what ever crimes Hyde commits, Jekyll is responsible for them all. ...read more.


The structure of this novella is strange compared to most: It has Utterson telling the story for the majority of the book, chapters 1-8, but in chapter 9 it is written in Dr. Lanyon's perspective, a letter about his encounter with Hyde, who turns into Dr. Jekyll. The final chapter, chapter 10, is written in Dr. Jekyll's perspective of the whole story, which sums up all unanswered questions. This explores duality because it shows two different endings in one, the first leaving Utterson on his way home to study the documents and the second ending with Dr. Jekyll's perspective of the full story. I think Stevenson's lasting message is about good vs. evil. I think Stevenson is trying to say that when it comes to good vs. evil, evil is stronger as seen in the novella. Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll's evil side, eventually overpowers him and takes over his body. I also think Stevenson wants us to think about our own lives. In a way, aren't we all just like Dr. Jekyll, showing the decent, respectable side of our personalities to each other, but secretly hiding our own darker halves? I don't think we will ever truly know the whole truth about the duality of man and the universe, but I think that some things are better left unsaid and not tampered with. ...read more.

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