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Henry Jekyll is a victim of his time and therefore deserves our sympathy Discuss.

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'Henry Jekyll is a victim of his time and therefore deserves our sympathy' Discuss. 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' was written by Robert Louis Stevenson during the Victorian era. This is significant because during this period, society was very different from today's society. During the Victorian there were strict moral codes to which men of the upper classes were expected to achieve. I will discuss if Jekyll was a victim of the harsh Victorian society and hence whether he deserves our sympathy. I think that in some ways Jekyll was a victim of his society as Jekyll was caged by his upbringing and tortured by feelings which were forbidden. The conflicting sides of his personality are clear when he refers to, 'the perennial war among my members'. After keeping these feelings for so long inside him Jekyll must have become desperate, so we can understand why he made the potion and deserves our sympathy. As I stated in my introduction, the society Jekyll lived in was very rigid and he had lots of pressure on him to accomplish great things in life. ...read more.


Jekyll is addicted to being Hyde and therefore deserves some sympathy and when he has a break from Hyde he becomes stronger and breaks out 'roaring'. This suggests that the repression experienced by Jekyll when trying to adhere to moral codes causes him to become even more desperate to destroy the 'prison house of my disposition' and to let Hyde free. Society can therefore be blamed for Jekyll's destruction. On the other hand, Jekyll can be seen as the victimiser rather than the victim. Ever since his childhood he desired the separation to take place. Other men in this era would have liked to do the same, but they managed to repress their feelings or found an outlet for themselves secretly at places such as brothels, whereas he doesn't. Jekyll lets himself be tempted. Jekyll also had chances to be rid of Hyde, 'the fatal crossroads', Stevenson's image here emphasizes the choice that Jekyll makes. Having become Hyde, Jekyll brags about the feeling of being Hyde, saying he felt 'Younger, lighter, happier in body'. Jekyll also knew how evil Hyde was after becoming him the first time; 'I knew myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, ten fold more wicked, sold a slave to my own evil'. ...read more.


We cannot, however, be sure whether this remorse is for the girl and Carew, or for the loss of his reputation. If it was to be the first, then we could feel sympathy for him, however, the latter would further emphasise his selfishness. Jekyll clearly wants sympathy, and uses emotive vocabulary to draw on Utterson's sympathy. For instance, he says 'I have brought on myself a punishment and a danger that I cannot name. If I am the chief of sinners, I am the chief of sufferers also.' In this statement by Jekyll, he admits that he has done something wrong, but asserts that he has also been a victim of something. He is therefore trying to shift the blame onto something else, which may or may not convince the reader. In conclusion, the expectations of society and the traumatic situations that Jekyll has suffered make us feel some sympathy for him. Jekyll may be guilty but he makes his crimes seem beyond his control at times. However, Jekyll consciously took the evil path that night when 'he had come to the fatal crossroads'. This makes me feel no sympathy for Jekyll and makes me feel that his problems were of his own doing. ...read more.

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