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Duality of Jekyll and Hyde

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Introduction

Focusing on the opening and closing chapters, how does Robert Louis Stevenson explore the conflict of duality in human nature in 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. 'The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is a book published in a Victorian society with strict moral codes. This was also a time of discovery and science, and tension between religion and science was constantly rising. In this book you can infer that religion doesn't bring answers or contentment, but also a warning to the use of science, and what could become of it. The book explores the duality of a man, Dr Jekyll, and how neither science nor religion brought him salvation. The duality in Jekyll and Hyde is represented by Jekyll and Hype as good and evil. The cause of why Jekyll made the potion was to satisfy his inner desires, but was prevented because of "the high views I had set before me, I regarded and hid them with an almost morbid sense of shames". This quote from Jekyll explains that, because of the strict moral codes, and high respectability, Jekyll was unable to fulfil his desires without dishonouring his name, and so buried his fascinations away, showing self control. ...read more.

Middle

As Jekyll is a doctor, it is his choice of career that he is able to help, and heal people, and once again representing good. Whereas Hyde makes doctors, who are obliged not to judge people, and help in any circumstance, "turn sick and white with the desire to kill". If just one look at Hyde makes a healer want to kill, his personality must match his appearance. In contrast, Jekyll is physically described as "extremely handsome", "well proportioned" and with" every mark of capacity and kindness". The physical description of this character reflects on the reaction other people treat him with. Also, as Jekyll is a well respected doctor, his personality is expected to match his appearance. This is also the case with Hyde, however, he doesn't get the same judgments as Jekyll gets. Hyde is described as "pale and dwarfish", giving an "impression of deformity" and "Satan's signature upon a face". From these descriptions, we can see why his was disliked so much, and Hyde's personality reflected his features to every last detail. Stevenson used the phrase "Satan's signature upon a face", which is related to religion, and ties in nicely with the books theme. ...read more.

Conclusion

I also think hypocrisy is shown through Jekyll's head butler, Poole. As he is in charge of those lower than him, such as other butlers and maids, he encourages them not to ask too many questions, as that is what their job requires. However, Poole goes out to get Utterson for help, and does ask questions about what is going on with his master, and by doing so, he is being hypocritical. To conclude, I think that Robert Louis Stevenson explores the conflict of duality in the human nature in 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' by his clever use of themes and language to engage different meanings. We can gather that from the background conflict of science and religion, that Stevenson was using the warnings and deceitfulness of the two to show that neither is right or wrong. He explains "that man is not truly one, but two" and was able to put this into context by using the gothic horror genre so that people would understand and want to read. In the end, I think that the main theme of duality in the book is not just a theory, but a belief, and that the only thing that man has to fear, is man itself. ...read more.

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