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How did Stevenson create horror and tension around the character of Hyde?

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Introduction

Robert Louis Stevenson was a famous Scottish author who, in 1886 wrote, the chilling, fictitious novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Stevenson generated tension surrounding the infamous character, Mr Hyde, in a variety of ways. Tension has been created around the character of Hyde throughout the novel. In particular, the scene where Mr Enfield describes feeling terrified and bewildered at seeing a young girl callously trampled by Hyde. Stevenson creates tension using various methods. During the trampling scene, as throughout the book, Hyde is described as a loathsome, 'little man'. This enables the reader to identify the character, using the recurrent labels. Stevenson uses Pathetic Fallacy to portray Hyde. This is apparent during Mr Enfield's account of that 'Black winter morning.' Black is associated with evil and winter with dark, dingy mornings. Stevenson uses this sentence effectively to create tension and set the sinister scene before Hyde appears. This suggests that Hyde's actions, when he comes into the scene, are going to be corrupt and villainous. Hyde was 'stumping along', 'at a good walk.' Stevenson has created a character that to the reader appears to move in a controlled, unstoppable manner. Hyde then 'trampled calmly over the child's body and left her screaming on the ground.' These actions were unemotional and complacent. ...read more.

Middle

The description of Carew adds to the tension surrounding Hyde because of the comparison of the two, Carew seems timid and harmless and Hyde is destructive and powerful. Stevenson used powerful words to describe Hyde and his actions, 'And then all of a sudden he broke out in a flame of anger,' Carew had no chance to react to Hyde's actions, which were, sudden and deadly. The quote, 'broke out of all bounds' makes it sound like someone or something is restraining Hyde and that he needed to force his way to Carew. Jekyll might have been restraining Hyde, stopping him harming Carew; this represents the two sides of Hyde, the good and the evil. Carew's actions made him appear confused. 'The old gentleman took a step back, with the air of one very much surprised and a trifle hurt.' He seemed surprised by the attack, which Stevenson depicted as an unprovoked murder. He describes the effect on Carew's body by writing, 'the bones were audibly shattered and the body jumped upon the roadway.' This graphic description of hearing the bones breaking makes the reader horrified and disgusted at Hyde. Hyde was made to seem like a madman, brutally murdering Carew. Stevenson describes him, 'clubbing him to the earth.' 'Tramping his victim underfoot' and 'hailing down a storm of blows.' ...read more.

Conclusion

This detailed description puts a clear picture of the change in the reader's head, by using powerful adjectives to create a strong sense of horror. 'He seemed to swell - his face became suddenly black' Hyde's face turned black, as black is associated with evil. Dr Lanyon, as to be expected was surprised and frightened, 'The next moment I had sprung to my feet and leaped back against the wall, my arm raised to shield me from that prodigy, my mind submerged in terror.' The words portray a terrified man fearing for his life and doing anything to protect himself. Whenever Hyde was mentioned in the novel, Stevenson created tension around him. This was to produce a sense of horror. The whole of this novel is based on good versus evil. Jekyll was associated with good and Hyde was associated with evil. Mr Hyde was a clever and sneaky man. He gave an impression of deformity and being inhuman. He dressed very plainly but still seemed to stand out; this might be because of his inhuman-like character. His voice was husky, broken and whispery and he laughed savagely, this makes him sound evil. There is an underlying sense of morality and religion within the novel. Stevenson portrays the morality of a well-respected, noble gentleman who transforms into an immoral, detested monster. Stevenson appears to be relating Jekyll's metamorphosis, with the human race's constant struggle to suppress immorality. ...read more.

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