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How does Robert Louis Stevenson represent evil in Jekyll and Hyde?

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Introduction

How does Robert Louis Stevenson represent evil in Jekyll and Hyde? Robert Louis Stevenson intended this tale of The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to be a penny numbers story, which gave us the sense that this was a simple and cheap novel, yet, it is far more sophisticated than its audience expected. Robert Louis Stevenson's captive audience were the Victorians. They were zealots, repressed and highly moral but were living through an age of change. The book itself looks at religious, social and scientific issues, which all tie in with the time it was written, to give us a much more complex book than first thought. The book was written in the Victorian era, when Jack the Ripper was at large, giving the readers something terrifying to relate to. References to Darwin's theory of evolution are apparent in the novel, Darwin himself was vilified by the Victorians because his theory was in total contrast to their strong belief in the Christian faith, which links to the religious theme that is central to the books plot. "I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn't specify the point." - Enfield What Enfield is saying is that Hyde's ugliness is not purely physical, it is more metaphysical attached to his soul more than his body. An example of his evilness is in the first chapter, where we see Hyde walking straight in front of a little girl, but instead of walking around her, he walks straight over her and tramples over her "calmly", and leaves her "screaming". ...read more.

Middle

Darwinesque descriptions are used throughout the tale of Jekyll and Hyde, like in the Carew Murder Case, where he is said to be "ape like" in fury, and "clubbing him to the ground". In the chapter the Last night, the men who try to break into Jekyll's laboratory find inside Hyde, the "monkey" and this makes them feel sick. This is established when Poole says, "Well, when that masked thing like a monkey jumped up from among the chemicals and whipped into the cabinet, it went down my spine like ice" What this means is that Poole and other men who have witnessed this sight are scared of what they have seen because it reminds them of themselves, yet they cannot come to terms with it, as they are reserved in terms of their thoughts. In Jekyll's early life was described by Utterson. " Poor Henry Jekyll...my mind misgives me he is in deep waters! He was wild when he was young...", which implies that Jekyll had led a riotous life when he was young. . Also when Jekyll was young he was described as "kind", "smoothed faced", "large" and "well made." However a few pages forward Jekyll says himself, " I will tell you one thing: the moment I choose, I can be rid of Hyde" and " I swear to God I will never set eyes on him again. I bind my honour to you that I am done with him in this world." ...read more.

Conclusion

People would go to Soho for cheap meals, music halls or to make deals, like prostitution. The streets were dingy and crowded, and at night, it was the kind of place where you would expect to meet criminals, prostitutes and beggars. The area in a way, explains to us what the characters that exist in it are like in a metaphorical sense. Jack the Ripper, an evil, mystery of a man was a serial killer in the Victorian era, who murdered five prostitutes in streets of Whitechapel, a similar area to Soho, leaving their bodies bloody and battered. This was a cause for concern for the people , and it gave them a feel of uneasiness. Socially, the Jack the Ripper period is linked to this book, as when they read this tale of Jekyll and Hyde, they will know about the "evil", "ugly" character Hyde, who relates to Jack the Ripper - when you read about him, it makes you think of Jack the Ripper. This tale creates tension and social unrest for the readers in the Victorian era. The houses interiorly and exteriorly personify the owners of the house throughout the book, especially with Hyde, in the chapter Story of the Door. The house is described as a "sinister block of building", which infers that Hyde himself is sinister. The house has "neither bell nor knocker", which signifies that he is uninviting. The house has no windows too, which means that Hyde might have something to hide, something inside him that he does not want us to see. Furthermore, the lack of windows could also mean that physically he looks dead, with his eyes shut. ...read more.

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