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How does Robert Louis Stevenson use literary techniques to illustrate the social, historical, cultural and moral points he is trying to make in 'The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'?

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Introduction

How does Robert Louis Stevenson use literary techniques to illustrate the social, historical, cultural and moral points he is trying to make in 'The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'? In his novella "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde", Robert Louis Stevenson explores the dual nature of Victorian man, and his link with an age of hypocrisy. Whilst writing the story he obviously wanted to show the people of the time what happened behind closed doors. In Jekyll's suicide note he makes the following observation " I have observed that when I wore the semblance of Edward Hyde, none could come near to me at first without a visible misgiving of the flesh. This, as I take it, was because all human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil: and Edward Hyde, alone in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil." I believe that the underlying moral of this novella is that we are all comprised of good and evil, and that we should possess the ability to control and acknowledge the darker side of ourselves. ...read more.

Middle

Stevenson uses inhuman phrases when describing Hyde, he describes him as impulsive, amoral, impatient, and a mad man. The reactions that Mr Hyde gets when he meets people are of hatred. Mr Utterson got a feeling of loathing and "gave an impression of deformity without any nameable malformation". Mr Enfield had felt pure hatred when he first saw him and described the doctor as turning "sick and white with the desire to kill him". The maid that witnessed Sir Danvers Carew's murder, passed out after seeing what Hyde had done to the man. Sir Danvers Carew's murder is meant to shock the reader, as it is described so horrifically and graphically. The gruesome details cause the maid to faint. The "innocent old man" is walking up the street on the opposite side to Hyde, the old man "bowed and accosted the other with a very pretty manner of politeness" the Sir Carew spoke a while, however Hyde did not answer 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 madman". ...read more.

Conclusion

At the end of the novella, Hyde overpowers Jekyll, and Jekyll suddenly realises, how despicable, and repulsive Hyde is. This repulsion and hatred for Hyde in the end makes up Jekyll's mind to kill them both. By Jekyll killing, himself he sets both him, and Hyde free, although it is Hyde who is found when the cabinet door is forced open. This is because when Jekyll dies, he is emotionally and physically venerable, and Hyde shines through. So theoretically, it is Mr Hyde continues to exist temporarily when Dr Jekyll is gone. Therefore, I conclude that Stevenson explores the duality, which lies within man very well and aptly describes this phenomena in Jekyll's suicide note when he writes, " all human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil". However, I feel that he has not truly exploited the capabilities that could have been developed when sculpting Hyde's character. Jekyll's original experiment was to try to create a purely good man, however, he just ends up destroying his experiment and eventually himself. ...read more.

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