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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886. Stevenson spent his childhood years in Edinburgh, growing up with his father, Thomas Stevenson. His father was a very respectable and successful man (like Jekyll). His son, however, had a much less respectable, more rebellious streak to him (like Hyde). He challenges traditional Victorian society by expressing his belief that everyone had an evil side to them. Stevenson had a very religious background, so he grew up very aware that evil has the power to destroy, if given a chance (as it was by Jekyll). The book includes many contrasts between good and evil, such as the difference between the areas mentioned in the novella, the difference between Hyde's front door and Jekyll's front door, and simple quotes used such as "If he shall be Mr Hyde, I shall be Mr Seek". The novella is set in Victorian London, specifically in Cavendish Square and Soho. Cavendish Square is the western section of London, a very much respectable area, renowned for its wealthy residents (like Dr Lanyon). ...read more.


On the contrary, Dr Jekyll was a 'large, well made, smooth faced man of fifty'. He was a well-respected gentleman, as suggested by his title, Dr. In the Carew Muder Case the mystery deepens with the first fog of the season. In London at this time people used coal fired for heat and the smoke produced fog, which could last for months. 'For here it would be dark like the back-end of evening' suggests to the reader that Mr Utterson's fate will darken with the weather. Stevenson uses this simile as an example of pathetic fallacy to represent evil. He also uses dreary words such as haggard, muddy and dismal, to give the scene a sense of mystery and weariness. In The Last Night, Stevenson describes the setting as a 'wild, cold, seasonable night'. This suggests that Utterson and Poole's night will be wild and eventful, yet cold and bleak. He uses personification such as 'the wind make talking difficult and flecked the blood into the face' to create an atmosphere and frighten the reader. Stevenson's use of pathetic fallacy throughout the novella gives us a clear impression of exactly how he wants his characters and setting to appear to the reader. ...read more.


Stevenson believed that Victorian Society at the time had a dual nature of both good and evil. The novella contains all the typical elements of gothic literature, for example, hideous supernatural creatures, wild scientific experiments and good vs. evil. It is not written in chronological order, mainly due to the use of multiple narratives of Mr Utterson, Dr Lanyon and Dr Jekyll. This means the story is constantly moving backward and forwards in time, using multiple narrative forms (such as letters). Stevenson's overall message is conveying that everyone has a bit of evil in their nature, but it only comes out if we let it. Mr Hyde became so dominant over Dr Jekyll that he started to morph into him unconsciously in his sleep. This made the goodness in Jekyll become weaker, and Mr Hyde's evilness become stronger. He admits this in his letter where he says, "That I was slowly losing hold of my original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated in my second and worse." We learn from the novella that we need to control ourselves and resist temptations, because if we don't fight them, they could take over. ...read more.

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