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How does Robert Louis Stevenson create a notion of good and evil in the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

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Introduction

How does Robert Louis Stevenson create a notion of good and evil in the strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published in 1886 and was written after a dream Robert Louis Stevenson had. The story is mainly a horror but has an element of mystery throughout it. It is a powerful story with a hidden philosophical outlook on life and society. The story has one main theme running through it and other smaller ones that can only be found by reading between the lines. The main theme is that of a duality in humans, that we all have hidden extremes in us, extreme evil and extreme good. Robert Louis Stevenson focuses on the Extreme evil in this story. The story is set in Victorian England where society was much disciplined and people were expected to be either working class or upper class. The working class were to work and their views not considered, whereas the upper class were always very rich people who were accustomed to not working and instead occupied themselves with experiments in the field of science. This is exactly how the theme of duality is brought into the story, 'I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of life.' Dr. Jekyll found all this order and expectations to keep a tight upper lip all too hard to handle, 'But such as I found it hard to reconcile with my imperious desire to carry my head high, and wear a more than commonly grave countenance before the public.' Despite this Jekyll stayed quiet and 'I concealed my pleasures.' After these years Dr. Jekyll looks back on his life with reflection and realises that he is wasting his life pleasing society and others. He says that 'many a man would have even blazoned such irregularities that I was guilty of,' but instead he feels ashamed of it. ...read more.

Middle

Maybe to show that the contrast between good and evil isn't always an obvious one and in life good and evil wont stick out. We have to look for them. And that good can sometimes be found in places where you wouldn't expect it to be. During this chapter talk of the Will arises, Utterson again says that he disapproves of it. When Utterson says he has learnt things of Hyde, Jekyll 'grew pale to his very lips and there came a blackness about his eyes.' This maybe because Jekyll thinks that Utterson has worked out his other identity. Jekyll states he can get rid of Hyde whenever he wants to but has an interest in him and if Jekyll is no longer around he wants Utterson to promise that Hyde will have justice. Utterson agrees, bitterly. The reason Jekyll says this is the last chapter, in his letter he states that one morning he woke up and his hand stayed that of Hyde's, maybe Jekyll is realising that soon Hyde will consume all of Jekyll's body and he will have to live his life out as Mr. Hyde. It is no doubt the belief of Stevenson that if we let the evil within us, in Dr Jekyll's case - Mr Hyde, come out and show itself to others, and if we start to grow towards this new 'wild' side of ourselves, then it will destroy us. We all have evil contained inside of us, but we mustn't let it 'come to the surface' to often then it will become us. It comes a year later when a maid is the witness to a horrific murder. She says she saw, 'an aged and beautiful gentleman with white hair' meet a 'small gentlemen'. The smaller man is Hyde whom she recognises as Hyde. She says that Hyde was carrying a cane and then all of a sudden 'he broke out in a great flame of anger, stamping with his foot, brandishing the cane, and carrying on like a mad man'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also it is told in a first person narrative to get all the emotions and feelings that Stevenson has across, he is only able to do this through his characters. And as Victorian times were controversial, any ting that people might have disagreed with he would be ale to defend himself by simply saying that is what the character felt like. Stevenson want to include emotion in his story, not facts, he wants his story to be exciting, and by doing through Jekyll he can let the reader sympathise with Jekyll, after all, all Jekyll wanted was freedom which is something we all want. Stevenson writes the final part from Jekyll's point of view and includes some history, he basically says in the beginning that he started off honest and true and being kind to people but somewhere along the way, this wasn't enough, he wanted more, he wanted to be free, but he realises that it wasn't just his own feelings that had made him feel this way, but others around him, the people he had tried to please, he wanted to be free of them and their judgements, he was almost forced by them to turn to Hyde. This is true of Victorian society, as it was a culture that was very restrictive and demanding. This is a great story for showing how humans feel deep down inside, the way Utterson thought he was Jekyll's best friend and that Jekyll would tell him anything, but Jekyll kept this secret, whether to protect Utterson or because he was too ashamed we don't know, but what we do know is that from the moment the potion touched Jekyll's lips for the first time, he had sealed himself to death, for the temptation for him was too much, and although not true, we should take this story as an example that if we let things get too far there is no turning back. ?? ?? ?? ?? Fraser McAvoy 10 Lowry 07/02/04 ...read more.

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