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How and Why does Robert Louis Stevenson create a contrast between Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? What does the story have to say to a modern reader?

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Introduction

English GCSE Coursework How and Why does Robert Louis Stevenson create a contrast between Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? What does the story have to say to a modern reader? In this essay, I will be discussing Robert Louis Stevenson's novella 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' published in January 1886. This book is well remembered because it raised a number of interesting ideas that have become the foundations of many modern horrors and mysteries. However it may not have been so if it was not for Robert Louis Stevenson's professional writing skills. Through this essay I will be focusing on how Stevenson creates a contrast between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and also his reasons for doing this. In addition I will be exploring what this book has to say to a modern reader. Firstly, Robert Louis Stevenson creates a contrast between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for a number of reasons; these include the build up of a mystery. This is essential to keep the reader interested and well absorbed into the important issues that are faced in the story, such as reputation, the duplicity within human and scientific findings. The significant contrast between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, one being good-natured man with an exceptional reputation and the other being a threat to civilized society; creates a heavy cloud of suspicion for the reader as to why they are friends or equally why Dr. ...read more.

Middle

Hyde to be dark and sneaky as well as villainous; unlike Dr. Jekyll. Furthermore, a contrast is created through the characters' actions. For instance Dr. Jekyll did many good deeds and was known to be sociable. This is shown by "renewed relations with his friends...he had always been known for his charities" from this I can tell that Dr. Jekyll was a very friendly and likeable man who was also very generous. However Mr. Hyde appears to be someone sadistic and spiteful. This is shown by the account, "with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot, and hailing down a storm of blows", this shows him to be much inconsiderate towards others as well as inhumane and rather monstrous. This is very different to Dr. Jekyll as we know his character is much more civilized, considering he has a very good reputation. The language that Stevenson used for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are very different from each other- this creates an evident contrast between the two characters. Firstly, Dr. Jekyll speaks in a very polite and gentle manner, which can be seen from when he says, "My good Utterson" and then continues to say "this is very good of you, this is downright good of you, and I cannot find words to thank you in." This style of speech is very compassionate and friendly, and it also implies a very gracious tone. ...read more.

Conclusion

By reading the book, one may also perceive city life in Victorian times to be quite troublesome; considering the drugs, deaths and various conflicts. Hence a modern reader can relate to the novella because, in fact in today's world, urban areas are recognised in a similar way. Since 1885, this story has been retold in different settings with slightly different details but overall, the same title is used which proves it as an expression in modern language. As a result, modern readers associate the title with the duplicity within a human and the good and evil qualities exposed by them. On the whole, I believe that Robert Louis Stevenson created a contrast between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to build up a mystery; to explore the idea of good and evil within a person; and to suggest how people react to evil in society; as well as to give a moral. Moreover, I believe he achieved these by the appearance of the characters; their actions; and what's more their language. I also believe that the two sides of the house of Dr. Jekyll was another way of creating contrast between the characters. Finally, I believe that a modern reader learns of Victorian society, roles and attitudes and can also relate to issues faced in the story as well as the moral they are represented with. In fact the title of the novella is now used as an expression in modern society. ...read more.

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