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Explore Stevensons presentation of evil in the novel 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'

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Introduction

Explore Stevenson's presentation of evil in the novel 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. In Robert Louis Stevenson's novel 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', a respected doctor experiments with evil by drinking a potion to cast all of the good out of his body. This leads to many evil incidents taking place. Evil is causing pain or harm to others in a spiteful or malicious way. Victorian views of evil were closely related to religion and the way people looked. This was a safe and comforting opinion for the Victorians because they could imprison these people and could keep away from people that they thought were evil as it could be easily identified. Stevenson shows his view of evil using many different techniques mainly through characters but also through setting imagery and language. Stevenson was influenced by many different circumstances during his life. Stevenson's childhood was a fearful one with a strict religious upbringing constantly focusing on Hell. He was very ill and therefore spent a lot of time in bed thinking about Hell. He was always alone and isolated as he was an only child so he could not discuss his feelings with anyone. ...read more.

Middle

This is a contrast to Hyde who is a horrible person out in the streets committing crimes. When a doctor came to see the child and asks what happened he 'turns sick and white with a desire to kill him' this shows us that the doctor was very angry as he wants to kill someone when his life ambition is to save peoples lives. Also doctors see horrible things every day but when Hyde tramples over a girl, it makes him ill. This is a contrast with Hyde who shows no emotion at all. Another example where Hyde was evil was his meeting with Utterson. Hyde ' shrank back with a hissing intake of breath'. 'Shrank back' shows us he is scared and does not want to talk to anyone. 'Hissing' compares him to an animal, which can be perceived as evil and again like an animal is warning Utterson to keep away. In addition, as Hyde is like an animal he has no conscience and is instinctive. After Utterson had commented on his bad language Hyde 'snarled aloud into a savage laugh'. 'laugh' tells us he is rebellious and childlike. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jekyll's front entrance is described as an 'ancient handsome house' this symbolises Jekyll as he is a respected man in the community so has a house to represent his. In conclusion, Stevenson presents his view of evil in many ways mainly through the major and minor characters but also through language setting and imagery. Stevenson has many messages about evil he believes that everyone has evil in them and if this evil is brought out and used more that good you will become evil forever this is shown through Jekyll when he starts to involuntarily change into Hyde. he is also criticising Victorian society and challenging Victorians perceptions, which oppresses evil. He takes out his anger on doctors because when he was younger he was very ill and doctors could not help him. Stevenson is very effective in showing his opinion because he uses very strong language and opinions which appealed to the Victorian society and for some people appeal to their evil side today. It is quite relevant to the current world because there are Jekyll and Hyde characters in modern day society for example Dr shipman who killed between fifty and sixty people even though he is a doctor and is meant to save people lives not end them. Stephanie Meachen 10DST [2034 words] ...read more.

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