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How does Robert Louis Stephenson use "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", to examine personality and the idea of "the beast within"?

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Introduction

Tamara Spencer English Coursework How does Robert Louis Stephenson use "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", to examine personality and the idea of "the beast within"? Everyone has a dual personality, two sides, good and evil. Robert Louis Stephenson uses the book to explain this, he wanted people to realise that not only Dr Jekyll carries a double personality, but the other characters in the book too. Also the people reading it must see that they too, are a part of this frightening uncontrollable fact, that there is "the beast within" us all. Stephenson suggests that all gentlemen keep secrets, suppress emotions, desires, and hide their true inner self. In the story Mr. Utterson is a great example of a gentleman (lawyer) needing to suppress his less socially acceptable side for the sake of preserving his respectable standing in society. 'Though he enjoyed the theatre hadn't crossed the doors of one for twenty years'... 'Utterson was austere with himself'. Drinking only alone, having the security of knowing that he is the only person who might witness and therefore judge him, the respected gentleman could appear a little out of control. ...read more.

Middle

Life had never been looked like this before, nor shared with the public. It was all very strange and frightening. In the book 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', Robert Louis Stephenson writes that Hyde 'moves like a monkey'. Hyde is compared to an animal, he is 'ape-like', in the introduction-under the tittle Apes and Angels-it shows that 'Jekyll conceives of Hyde as his lower element'. Throughout this book Jekyll is evolving backwards, the mad scientist has gone too far with his experiments and releases the beast within himself. At the end of the story Hyde defeats Jekyll-his physical state and his mind. This aspect of the story is rather frightening together with the reality of the area, London. As Robert Mighall writes in the introduction...'Stephenson betrayed a distinct physiological interest, demonstrating that the body and mind of individuals could provide horrors of their own, the site of unwelcome legacies'... Robert Louis Stephenson builds up the tension in the book by using ordinary people such as Poole and Utterson being absolutely terrified that they can't speak "Lanyon declared himself a doomed man... ...read more.

Conclusion

Everyone in society has secrets, in this book secrets are revealed, reputations are attempted to be kept, pressure from the duality of the characters and the situation of London. The introduction shows that "Stephenson's use of a similar setting can be characterised as more directly 'psychological." The split personality of London-the upper class, respected areas with its people and then there's the ugly, rundown cheap area reflecting the lives of Jekyll and Hyde. '...London, with excursions into low-life neighbourhoods, it too is about appearances and reputations, and involves an individual whom who lives a double life of outward pity and secret corruption. Jekyll uses the ugly deformed Hyde as his body double'... The 'Beast within' is studied in this book. The most obvious case of this is within Dr. Jekyll and, Mr Hyde, however it shows in the others too, not only in this book in the whole of civilisation. Once Dr. Jekyll has captured life for a while he is not just one, but two, Hyde is constantly struggling to get out, each fighting for control. Robert Louis Stephenson tried to show that everyone displays a certain threat from their other side, fighting to escape from their desired image and that it is not just apparent in this Gothic novel but within everyone. ...read more.

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