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'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is set in Victorian times, where the well-respected lawyer Utterson investigates the mysterious goings on surrounding his good friend Dr Jekyll and the evil Mr Hyde.

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Introduction

'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is set in Victorian times, where the well-respected lawyer Utterson investigates the mysterious goings on surrounding his good friend Dr Jekyll and the evil Mr Hyde. The book was written in 1886 and therefore contains many theories around in Victorian times such as physiognomy. This is when people believed physical appearance could define a criminal type character. This is evident throughout the book due to the description of Hyde and also of more civilised characters. The idea of original sin is perhaps 'watered down' in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by introducing the idea of drugs to bring out evil characteristics in one person. The setting of 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is set in Victorian London. Stevenson uses clear descriptions of misty nights and a 'night under the face of the fogged city moon', which give an impression of evil and mystery to the story long before it has truly begun. 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' is at one point mentioned as 'very cool and a little damp, and full of premature twilight.' ...read more.

Middle

The obvious parallel to issues nowadays is the use of drugs. Stevenson uses the drugs to all Dr Jekyll to change into Mr Hyde, and his dependency on Hyde may be compared to a drug addiction. The line 'I could stop whenever I want' is used in Jekyll's defence but in reality (like many addicts) they are not in control. The elements of symbolism in 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' also seem to be much smaller than in 'Lord of the Flies'. The home and laboratory of Dr Jekyll are on opposite sides of the spectrum. His home is seen as respectable and upright. This is shown in the lines 'the hall, when they entered it, was brightly lighted up; the fire was built high''. His laboratory in comparison is described to be rundown and filthy. Both Dr Jekyll's home and laboratory are joined together, but look like very separate buildings. This represents the characters of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, who stemmed from the same person but have completely different appearances. The windows to Dr Jekyll's laboratory are enclosed with iron bars. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also hypocrisy is a part of contemporary life. Many people behave in one way in public but another elsewhere. This is also brought out in the novel as Dr Jekyll was forced by civilisation to act differently in public and this caused him to experiment with drugs, (therefore separating his two sides making it easy to act respectively at all times. 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' and 'Lord of the flies' have similar themes although written in two largely different times. They also relate closely to current themes suggesting that some ideas are consistent over time. The themes of good and evil and the relation to 'original sin' are demonstrated within both novels suggesting that each individual has the opportunity to be both good and evil. This is best in 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' as the same person splits his personalities, which allows it to be both good and fully evil at different times. In 'Lord of the Flies' this is shown in a different way, by using children as the main characters. In this way, it uses the reader's preconception that children are innocent and are not born evil, but can become so. ...read more.

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