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

How did 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' appeal to the collective consciousness of Victorian Society?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How did 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' appeal to the collective consciousness of Victorian Society? When Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' was first published in January 1886, (delayed from December 1885), many factors contributed to the way the (Victorian) public viewed the gothic novel. It was, and is, seen as one of the most chilling tales of its time. One which inspired many other novels; it could be said that it is the story that made the public believe in the concept of a split personality. One example of this is the case of Jack the Ripper in late 1888. Many people believed that he was a normal, everyday man, but at night he claimed his victims whilst under the illusion that he was somebody else. Subsequently, the stage version of Stevenson's fear-provoking novel was taken off London's stages so the public would not jump to the wrong conclusion that Jack the Ripper was similar to the 'wholly evil' Mr Hyde. To make 'Jekyll and Hyde' frightening, Stevenson used the tactic of playing on Victorian society's greatest fears; the fear of alcohol being the most prominent throughout the novel. ...read more.

Middle

and would get scared of their inner negative feelings. 'Troglodytic' is a key quote from the story, meaning like a caveman. This persuades the reader that Hyde is used to primitive methods, such as using a club to kill a man for no apparent reason. It is hinted that Hyde is an angry man, as he is described as having 'ape-like fury' when he 'tramples' on his murder victim, Sir Danvers Carew. Hyde's anger would terrify Victorian society because it would seem that he is capable of doing much more in a rage, that any ordinary man could. However, Hyde is not only compared to apes and cavemen. He has an animal's nature. His instinct is not to die, which is like an animal's. An animal that he could be compared to is a fox. Foxes are sly and cunning, and hunt for their victims, generally sheep. Jekyll's servants can be described as Hyde's prey, as they are 'huddled together like a flock of sheep' when Utterson arrives to find out what the problem is with Dr Jekyll. Poole is seen as the sheepdog, trying to keep the flock safe from their predator. He is very much like a dog, as he knows what his master's voice is like, and recognises when something is wrong with Jekyll. ...read more.

Conclusion

This implies that there is something more sinister going on between Jekyll and Hyde, especially after Poole mentions to Utterson that 'he mostly comes and goes by the laboratory.' This links Hyde to the 'scientific heresies', which gives the impression that Hyde gets involved with Satan and goes against God. This daunting prospect would alarm the Victorian public, as any heresy would be unnerving, but as science was involved, it made it even more dubious, as the Victorians tended to be scared of the unknown. 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' appealed to the collective consciousness of Victorian society, by involving things that were actually concerned with them as a whole, such as repression. All people had been repressed by society, like Jekyll had been, and so they could have been scared that such a thing might happen to them. Also it would have increased people's awareness about alcohol, and the horrific effects it might have, such as turning someone from a respectable person into a terrifying monstrosity. It is possible that people began to question their Christian faith after reading this novel, and could have thought more about Darwin's theory of evolution, and recognised the animal like qualities in all humans. It was certainly a thought provoking and innovative novel, which caused Victorians to think differently about their society. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kelly Barber 10ATA English Coursework ...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. “Dr. Jekyll deserves our sympathy – he is a victim of Victorian Values.” Discuss.

    He attacked both a carriage driver and a woman in the course of a day. After these incidents, 'it was no longer the fear of the gallows, it was the horror of being Hyde that racked me.' The power of Hyde was, indeed increasing, as to change back into Jekyll; it took a double dose of the potion.

  2. The Strange case of dr. jekyll and mr. hyde - letter

    The Will stated that in case of Jekyll's death, all his possessions should be passed to his 'friend and benefactor Edward Hyde' and also that should the doctor disappear or be inexplicably absent for three months or more, Hyde should take up his position at once.

  1. How does R.L. Stevenson create fear and suspense in the novel " The Strange ...

    The ambiguous setting here, displays the wide gap between our notions and the truth. Stevenson also presents the lack of judgement that can blindfold us and prevent us from the vision of the truth. Even the streets and the neighbourhood are given two conflicting settings.

  2. How does Stevenson Discuss and Reflect Victorian Society and Culture in the Strange Case ...

    This is a form of hypocrisy which is well shown where Mr. Enfield says, "I make it a rule of mine: the more something looks like Queer Street the less I ask," to which the reply from Mr. Utterson is, " A very good rule, too."

  1. How is Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde typical of a Victorian Gothic Novel?

    Again another characteristic of Victorian culture is mentioned when Mr Utterson 'longs for a sight of a policeman' showing us that London in the era of Queen Victoria a spooky and perhaps dangerous place to live. The 'lamp lit streets', a metaphor reveals to us that Victorian England had to

  2. How did the 'Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde appeal to the ...

    'I saw that Sawbones turn sick and white with the desire to kill him.' Even the doctor had been so taken aback by the ferocity and ugliness of this so-called human, despite doctor's professionalism not to be judgemental in times when their attention is needed.

  1. The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

    This was the main reason for Dr Jekyll to create another half of himself. The other half could do all the forbidden acts such as drinking too much, murder and assaults while Jekyll kept his status as a respected doctor.

  2. Can Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde be seen as a commentary on Victorian Society?

    Jekyll is repulsed by Hyde and admits he is ?pure evil?. When Hyde dominates, however, Jekyll asserts he is ?conscious of no repugnance, rather of a leap of welcome?. Even when Jekyll attempts to suppress Hyde completely, Stevenson depicts him as the weak link: his inner demon tempts him and drags him back to falling into desire.

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