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How does Robert Louis Stevenson explore human nature in his novel 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'.

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Introduction

How does Robert Louis Stevenson explore human nature in his novel 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. Human nature has two sides: good and evil. R.L Stevenson explores this theory in his novel 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. Stevenson was born November 13th 1850 and had a strict upbringing in Edinbrough, Scotland. As he was born into a strict religious family, religious rules were forced into him. Of course, he rebelled. Stevenson's interest in human nature was caused by his strong upbringing giving him desires to do the opposite to what he was being told to do. He wanted to explore outside the strong moral boundaries that had been set to him while growing up. An influence on R.L Stevenson was William Brodie; well know as Deacon Brodie (1741-1788). He was a Scottish cabinet-maker, deacon of the trades guild and Edinburgh city councillor, who maintained a secret life as a burglar, partly for the thrill, and partly to fund his gambling. ...read more.

Middle

The people reading it in the Victorian times would have been frightened and affected by it because of the use of the recognisable setting, e.g. Soho and Cavendish Square, London. Jekyll (a good natured person) lived in a wealthy area of London: Cavendish square and Hyde (a bad natured person) lived in a dirty run down area of London: Soho. Also, these days everyone knows the term 'Jekyll and Hyde', but back then people were left to figure it out for themselves making it have a great impact. These days it is a repeated idea, used in film, television and books, but back then it was unknown. Science vs. Religion made this novel more of a shock to the Victorian audience. The fact that Jekyll had to take a potion to become Hyde makes it even more taboo because in religious views this would be the act of the devil. 'He put the glass to his lips, and drank at one gulp. ...read more.

Conclusion

R.L Stevenson also uses some minor characters to reflect his view on human nature; he uses them to explore his ideas of self-interest, e.g. how someone uses something bad to make themselves look good. We see this in the character of the policeman. 'And the next moment his eye lighted up with professional ambition' P.16. The moment the policeman found out that it was a murder case he knew it would be well followed in the eyes of the media, he quotes 'This will make a great deal of noise' P.16. The policeman knows that it would make him like a hero if he finds out who the killer is, and he uses this as an advantage to himself. This shows Stevenson's view of self-interest: that someone will use something bad to make themselves look good. The policeman is solving the case to make himself look good and not solving it for the moral reasons of catching a killer. It is a fine example of the evil self-interest side of human nature. Rory O'Neill ...read more.

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