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Examine the Representation of Good and Evil, and the dual nature of humans, in Robert Louis Stevenson's "The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde".

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Introduction

Examine the Representation of Good and Evil, and the dual nature of humans, in Robert Louis Stevenson's "The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde". The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson in the Victorian era, in 1886. At that time, the Victorians were fascinated and frightened by science and the supernatural. With all the new scientific theories and ideas (e.g. Charles Darwin's theory of evolution) causing turmoil around them, people were more and more influenced by other people's and their own reputations. Reputation became a big part of Victorian lifestyle, people's whole lives circled the idea of upholding a good reputation. This tense environment of mistrust and envy created a perfect setting for Robert Louis Stevenson's novella, "The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". In this book, the themes of good and evil and right and wrong were easy for people to relate to, as they came across these in their everyday life. The secrets and confrontations that Stevenson's readers experienced in their lives were very similar to the ones he used in his book. This is probably why it was such a huge success. In this essay I will be analysing and examining how Stevenson represented good and evil in his book, and the duality of human nature. ...read more.

Middle

Hyde. Mr. Utterson and Mr. Enfield are leaving the house of Dr. Jekyll and they look back to the window and see Dr. Jekyll : "The smile was struck out of his face and succeeded by an expression of such abject terror and despair, as froze the blood of the two gentlemen below" I think that this quote is telling us that Dr. Jekyll has lost control over Mr. Hyde. He has finally lost control, and maybe Mr. Hyde is taking over, and he can't stop the transformation, and he is extremely scared by this. Jekyll in the book symbolises, for me, the vast majority of Victorian Society, a respectable man to the public, but hides a not-so-respectable secret. Dr. Jekyll's evil counterpart, Mr. Hyde is compared in the book to Satan a number of times. In chapter 2, Mr. Utterson says this about Mr. Hyde: "If I ever read Satan's signature upon a face, it is upon that of ... Mr Hyde." And in Chapter 9 we read the quote: "stagger the unbelief of Satan" These two quotes tell us that Hyde is pure evil, and people sense this, and take an instant disliking to him. During the book we see Hyde's power over Jekyll increasing, until in the chapter 'The Last Night' there is a final struggle between Jekyll and Hyde, in which he commits suicide. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that fact that we don't see Utterson in two majorly different locations gives the same impression as Lanyon. I think that maybe only Jekyll and Hyde are the only characters that have dual natures, as they are the only characters that have two different locations that they travel between. In Conclusion I believe that the dual nature of humanity is represented mainly through Jekyll and Hyde, but not so much in the other characters. I believe that there is a factor of duality in every person, but Jekyll's experiments and pushing his ideas to this limit was too extreme, and this is why the experiment ends in Jekyll's suicide. The dual nature of this character is almost like a warning to Stevenson's audience, to not be caught in the frenzy of hypocrisy and the importance of reputation, because eventually everybody will find out your secrets, and when they do, if they have been hidden they will eventually hurt you more than you anticipating. I think that the representation of good and evil in the book is mainly shown through Hyde and the people he meets and the places he goes to. Evil is shown in all aspects of his life, and is very well shown through the weather and the fog. English Assessment, January 2006 Mariel Richards, English Mr Manandhar. ...read more.

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