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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

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Introduction

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde The famous Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson and has remained popular ever since its publication in 1886. Robert was born in 1850 and was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was brought up a calvalist, however followed the bohemian life style. He married Mrs. Fanny Osbourne in 1880 and supported Priest Dameor who cared for the lepers. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a rich tale of the duality of mankind and how we are in 'essence creatures created for good', however in all of us there is the seed to do bad. The moral of the story is an old biblical one that many Christians recite daily in prayer...'Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil'. This might be one of the reasons Stevenson wrote this book; Jekyll lives a double life of propriety and shame, imprisoned by the moral demands of Victorian society, and so did Stevenson. He too was surrounded by upright, religious and rigid citizens. He was even pressured into studying law at Edinburgh University. This book was written as a horror story. We know this because of the settings and plot. Stevenson wrote the book at the time of many murders in the east of London and the complete ignoring of social values and heartless deeds committed by Mr Hyde are totally in synch with Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes. Mr Hyde represents the exact opposite of what Victorian gentlemen should act and the savageness of his actions is what made the book so scary back then. ...read more.

Middle

was the key to knowing if someone was good or evil. Hyde is also often compared to animals e.g.' snarled', implying that he is not a fully evolved Human- Being. Another factor which suggests he is compared to animals is the fact he only menaces society at night e.g. trampling a girl in the street and murdering Sir Danvers Carew, which relates him to rodents and other nocturnal animals. Finally the quote 'the man seems hardly human', illustrates the fact Hyde is not a whole and has something missing.... Good. Mr Utterson is the narrator of the book and is described as 'tall' and 'loveable'. He is a middle- aged lawyer plus someone that all the characters confide in throughout the novel. As an old friend of Jekyll, he recognises the changes and strange occurrences that centre around both Jekyll and Hyde. Stevenson describes Utterson as a 'reliable' and 'Modest man' which suggests he is perhaps the most circumspect and respected character in the book; therefore, it is significant that we view the crimes of Hyde through his observant frame. However, when Utterson discovers Hyde's body in a red cabinet, instead of reporting it to the police he precedes in reading a letter addressed to him, which suggests he is more interested in his social status than solving the mystery. The quotes 'his friendship seemed to be founded in a similar catholicity of a good nature' and 'his friends were those of his own blood or those who he had seen the longest', illustrates the fact he is insular, biased and narrow-minded. ...read more.

Conclusion

I believe the relevance of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde has changed considerably over the last hundred years. The main difference is that the Victorians saw this book religiously, however now when we read this book we think it's about personal weakness and how addiction can lead to evil. A Victorian also wouldn't see the relevance of drugs and alcohol in this book, nor would they understand the relevance of addiction and what effect it has. Some may say that as humans, we wear masks. Not real masks, but masks that cover up our true personality showing our good side around our friends and our bad side around our family. These are great examples of man's fight in duality; our good side is always competing against our evil side, resulting in our duality, our fight over good verses evil. In this story, Doctor Jekyll is a regular scientist with the same feelings as every other human being; Mr. Hyde is a manifestation of Doctor Jekyll's evil side and as a result, he is able to commit murder without any guilt. In the end, the evil manifestation won, taking completely over the Doctor's body. The fight between good and evil is over! Finally, I believe the strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is about how Dr Jekyll struggles to decide either to do the right thing and be a good citizen, or to do the thing Dr Jekyll desires the most and to be Mr. Hyde which he knows is wrong. Oliver Lee Page 1 English coursework ...read more.

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