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Duality in Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde

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Duality in Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde One branch of philosophy insists that human beings are 'dual creatures'. By this is meant the animalistic side of a human being, being separate from man's unique ability of rational thinking. This duality in humans is the not quite so obvious 'lower level' of meaning in Robert Louis Stevenson's allegory The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The much more obvious, 'surface level' of meaning is that of a horror mystery. Stevenson explores this duality in every human mainly through Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde. The story also demonstrates how an innocent curiosity about our darker side of our nature can get out of hand. Stevenson suggests that in all of us there is a seed of evil. Anyone having read the book will know that Henry Jekyll turns into Mr. Hyde when having consumed a special potion. The brew awakens a dormant or hidden character; this is emphasized by a physical mutation. This physical mutation from a tall, slim, man of older age to a, younger, stronger, smaller and hairier build is a symbolic change because it helps the visualization of the two characters and their role in Stevenson's message. The contrast between the suave, distinguished gentleman and the impulsive 'animal' is notable. ...read more.


Stevenson's intention in this novel is to show that one should have control ever their animalistic side. One needs to be in control of their darker side of human nature, and to stop this seed of evil from growing larger. Perhaps, the moral is that we cannot control evil once unleashed. Jekyll tries to 'use' Hyde to give in to his temptations without damaging his social position. This spirals out of control. The cost of Jekyll's curiosity turned out to be a deadly reversal of dominance. '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. ...read more.


'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', can be related to scientific attempts, such as cloning and genetic engineering, as they have yet unknown consequences, just as Dr Jekyll did not understand how the drugs he took would affect him. 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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