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Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

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How does Robert Louis Stevenson explore the dual nature of human personality in the novella Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Robert Louis Stevenson's supernatural, Gothic thriller, "The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" was written in 1886, in the Victorian era. During this period many developments occurs in different fields such as medicine, technology and industry. Victorians were reluctant to these developments. Stevenson was interested in the duality of human nature and this interest was aroused by his home town, Edinburgh. He realised that there were two sides to the city. One good side, with respectable people with high statuses, while the other side, the bad side with prostitutes, urban degeneration and the use of brothels. Stevenson often had dreams where a civil, respectable man could turn himself into a monster while remaining behind a facade of honour. The original idea of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" occurred to him in a nightmare which is known as the "fine bogey-tale". The dream was about a man who drinks a potion and transforms into a devilish character. Stevenson's idea was to create a straight forward horror story. ...read more.


Hyde, through whom he searches evil for pleasure without being recognized in the society. His two morally opposite identities reflect the dual personality of human nature. Stevenson uses this split personality to show the darker side of a decent man, and that even the most respectable men can turn evil. Furthermore he puts forward the universality of this theme; that there is a dual nature in every human being. The theme of duality runs throughout the entire story. Jekyll pursues his scientific experiments and validating his work, he claims, "Man is not truly one" hence in Jekyll's view, every soul contains elements of both good and evil, but one is always dominant. Throughout the novella descriptions suggest the key theme of duality. From the beginning chapter, duality is reinforced through the details of the setting. An evil atmosphere is described with emphasis on gothic features along with welcoming. Stevenson begins describing the setting with two appearances; he juxtaposes positive lexis with negative to compare a street to its area. Jekyll's street was known for its "general cleanliness and gaiety of note". It was instantly "caught and pleased by the eye of the passenger". ...read more.


However Stevenson describes other reasons, which curved Jekyll into evil even more. His desire for a younger appearance was amongst the many reasons why Jekyll had such enthusiasm about Hyde. Jekyll gave up his grace and 'well made, smooth faced man' description for a younger yet 'deformed' Mr. Hyde. His wish to separate the 'bondage' between the good and evil so he could fulfill his dark desires without being recognized by the society became a purpose for creating Mr. Hyde. He believes he has total control over Hyde, as he says; "the moment I choose I can get rid of Mr. Hyde". However Stevenson shows situational irony as later on Jekyll loses control and the potion does not work any longer. Conclusively Stevenson clearly states the human nature as possessing two aspects; he leaves open the question of what these aspects consist of. Either evil or good, perhaps they represent the hidden animal and the fa�ade that the civilization has imposed. In this case, it was the key to the lab door, symbolic of satanic power, which gave access to evil, the secret lab. As the key was destroyed, so was Hyde. Stevenson enhances the effectiveness of the novella by leaving us to look within ourselves to find the answers. ?? ?? ?? ?? Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde Iram Ahmad 1 ...read more.

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