• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore how Stevenson has presented the character of Mr. Hyde. Comment on how the author has created a sense of evil in this character.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Pre-20th Century Prose Study Assignment title: Explore how Stevenson has presented the character of Mr. Hyde. Comment on how the author has created a sense of evil in this character. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson is a novella written in the gothic style, first published in 1886. It is linked to other works written in the same period of time and in the same style, most notably "Dracula" and "The Picture of Dorian Gray". During that period, it was believed that people had doppelgangers, or evil twins; this is how Victorians explained the duality of a person. Duality is a theme greatly explored in the novel; not only the duality of an individual but the duality of Victorian society as a whole. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" demonstrated the fact that many high class citizens, who appeared fine and upstanding, hid dark secrets, especially sexual ones: exactly like Henry Jekyll. Another theme explored in the novella is that of the importance of reputation and class. For example Utterson and Enfield try to avoid gossip and maintain their respectability. Similarly, Utterson tries to preserve Jekyll's reputation, even though he senses something is not right. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" has an episodic narrative structure in the fact that it is divided into specific significant events. ...read more.

Middle

Here, Hyde is compared to Satan again: "Satan's signature upon a face". Victorians would be very shocked by the reference to Satan as to them Satan was the most powerful force of evil on Earth and his "signature upon a face" would make the person extremely wicked and malevolent. Next, the random act of violence in "The Carew Murder Case" greatly affects the readers' opinion of Hyde. Stevenson has built up the feel of iniquity in Hyde through the maid's description of the crime. The verbs and adverbs used are particularly effective. For example, the verbs "clubbed" and "brandished" develop a sense of cruelty in Hyde. What's more, the aural imagery used allows the reader to visualize the crime, accenting it and Hyde's brutality. The maid describes Hyde as behaving "like a madman" and having "ape-like fury", which suggests Hyde may not have been in control of his actions and maybe even suffered from a mental health disorder. However, Victorian readers would not have interpreted that in this way, as there was limited knowledge regarding mental health during that time. Rather, it would have just emphasized Hyde's malice. Hyde's choice of accommodation reflects his character as he dwells in a "dingy street" with "blackguardly" surroundings. ...read more.

Conclusion

Additionally, Stevenson has withheld the details because they probably would have offended a Victorian audience. Nonetheless, this would be different with a modern audience as a modern audience is exposed to much more than a Victorian one. And, the text is more effective without the details as readers are left to guess, which means Hyde's secret could be any one of hundreds. Again, Stevenson is being deliberately vague, just as he was with Hyde's appearance: making Hyde's secret all things to all readers. In conclusion, by not revealing many details about Hyde, Stevenson created a truly evil character, as humans inherently fear the unknown. When the (few) details are revealed to the readers they are extremely unpleasant, with Hyde being "deformed", "ape-like" and "repulsive". Still, the real horror in the story is not Hyde. Jekyll, at the start of chapter 10, describes himself as "being born...endowed besides with excellent parts...with every guarantee of an honourable and distinguished future". Stevenson could have been describing every person in this way, as we are all born expected to be excellent, principled humans, "with every guarantee of an honourable and distinguished future". Therefore, in at least one way, everyone can relate to Jekyll. So, the real horror is not Hyde, but rather that every person, good or bad, is a Jekyll and a Hyde. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson essays

  1. How does Robert Louis Stevenson explore the duality of human nature in Dr Jekyll ...

    novella for example: Enfield and Utterson cut off their discussion of Hyde in the first chapter out of distaste for gossip; Utterson refuses to share his suspicions about Jekyll throughout his investigation of his friend's predicament. Moreover, neither Jekyll in his final confession nor the third-person narrator in the rest

  2. How does Stevenson present the conflict between good and evil in Dr Jekyll and ...

    the decrepit back of the house and emerge from the front as Jekyll. Stevenson employs many similar metaphors, such as the use of physiognomy to suggest Hyde's malevolence and by describing Lanyon, making him sound a kind and cheerful man.

  1. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

    "...so ugly that it brought out the sweat on me like running." This reference, again, allows the reader to imagine what Hyde looks like. It conveys how the other characters react to Hyde, that they all feel an air of deformity whenever they see him or speak to him, and

  2. How does Stevenson create an atmosphere of mystery and suspense yet at the same ...

    the possibility of murder, yet he is forced to conclude that his friend is the victim of blackmail. Seeking to unravel the mystery, Utterson pays a visit to the eminent Dr. Lanyon, friend and colleague to both men whom he hopes can shed some light on this disturbing matter.

  1. How does Stevenson explore the theme of duality in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

    even be in a part of town that was not inhabited by their own social group. This social fragment is an essential part in the setting of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde especially as you see Hyde never entered through the front door of Jekyll's house.

  2. How good and evil is presented in Dr jeykle and mr Hyde

    Then they will no longer feel the struggle between their evil side and their good side. However, something went wrong and Edward Hyde was created. Hyde is Jekyll evil side of his split personality. Stevenson uses the opening chapter to create a feeling of horror.

  1. How is evil presented in Jekyll and Hyde?

    There was a huge underclass of beggars and starving people. Child exploitation, thievery and drunkenness were extremely common and prostitution was a booming trade. In the novel Stevenson created the characters Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to represent the two sides of Victorian life.

  2. jekyll and hyde

    Also in the time of this highly orthodox period, Victorian's believed that if a person was ugly in appearance or inhumane in some way, it displays how ugly their hearts and feelings were and is an external and physical reflection of their inner self.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work