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How did the 'Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde appeal to the collective consciousness of Victorian Society

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How did the 'Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde appeal to the collective consciousness of Victorian Society? In the Victorian Era many people were indeed superstitious of various issues that were classified by class, for example, becoming drunk would not be considered as normal, or as proper, with people from the upper classes; whereas with people from lower or working class this would have been deemed a standard activity and most likely occurred on a daily basis. In Robert Louis- Stevenson's novel of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde just about every aspect to do with the fear of a typical upper class Victorian is explored by the life of the unfortunate Doctor. The face of Hyde is described as a criminal from everyone's view and one of the memorable first sightings of Hyde, met by a distant cousin of Mr. Utterson, namely Mr. Enfield, claimed 'he gave me one look, so ugly that it brought out the sweat on me like running.' ...read more.


One such idea was the primitive ancestor reflected the troglodytic actions performed by Mr. Hyde at certain occasions. On one of these occasions Hyde murders Sir Danvers Carew. In killing Carew, Hyde 'clubbed him to the earth', similar to a caveman, along with 'ape-like' fury, and eventually 'trampling his victim underfoot'. This idea of Darwin's had induced a new fear in the hearts of Victorian people, that they and others around them could, perhaps, at any time, lose control of themselves or something akin to the actions of Hyde. A brief point could be made about alcohol. In the tale there are many references to the upper class doctors and lawyers; for example Mr. Utterson, who drank alone and only in small amounts for fear of the alcohol giving him cause to lose himself. He could not be seen to embarrass himself, by drinking too much and losing his social standing. This would have rendered him unacceptable to his fellow gentry. This is very similar to the life of Dr. ...read more.


In the case of the letter, Jekyll would rather have his secrets unveiled after he has died. This is due to the good doctor trying to save himself from the embarrassment and mockery he would receive had someone discovered what he got up to when he was alone. This was also a problem with many among the upper classes, as their many 'distractions' in life, like alcohol, were not considered acceptable, so they would have had to be done in secret. In the second quote, it is a surprise to find a doctor with drugs and medicines hidden away in the most secluded part of this house. This links back to the same point of revealing his habits and what could happen to him, living in shame for the rest of his life. Intolerable to Victorians was shame. This relates back to many Victorians regarding their class as imperatively important, not something to lose in the agony of public humiliation, should their private activities be revealed in the public domain. Ryan Murray 10.1 GCSE English ...read more.

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