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How does Stevenson create intrigue in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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Introduction

GCSE English Coursework; Prose Study Pre1914 Explore how Stevenson creates a sense of intrigue and engages the reader's interest in "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde"? The Oxford Dictionary defines intrigue as "to arouse the curiosity or interest by new, or otherwise fascinating or compelling qualities and to captivate the listener/reader." Robert Louis Stevenson creates intrigue, mystery and suspense in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by submerging the reader into a society of which we are unfamiliar. In this 1886 community the police are strict and there is an extensive divide between the rich and the poor. This intrigues the reader because they are plunged into a different time period and throughout the story we are exploring the duality of humans. For the duration of the novel Stevenson creates more questions than he answers which causes the reader's curiosity to take hold and establish his/hers own questions. People reading this book a few years after it was published in the Victorian era may have related the circumstances to the murderer, Jack the Ripper. As Mr Hyde went round London and carried out several attacks, so did Jack who killed over five people in London and was never captured. This similarity could have caused Victorian readers to be traumatised and the book coincidentally tricking the reader into thinking that there are an abundance of murderers about. Also most Victorians believed in God and attended church. Anyone who didn't believe in God was shunned heavily in public. A man such as Mr Hyde who was so downright detestable, went against God's wishes and tampered with his plans would have been strongly hated in the public eye but the closed-minded Victorians were curious of how this man could lead such an evil life and therefore saw him as a very interesting character. Historians state that many Victorian men led a double life which is similar to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. ...read more.

Middle

Thus, Stevenson examines the issue of control and mentions that although Jekyll believes to be in control of the situation, he is not. In this small chapter the readers realise that despite Dr Jekyll supposedly being great friends with Hyde, Utterson's conversation with Dr Jekyll reveals that Dr Jekyll does not want anyone to speak of Mr Hyde therefore strengthening the reader's perception that he is not a friendly character which adds to his mystery as the readers no little about him yet. An example of Stevenson creating intrigue in the storyline and structure is the limited third person viewpoint. A novel written in the third person viewpoint is similar to one written in the first person viewpoint which is when thoughts and feelings are channelled through the first person's perception. Third person is similar except thoughts and feelings are limited and must be expressed by speech. However, this viewpoint means that there is usually more than one main character and the plot and setting can be described more deeply than in first person. The third person viewpoint helps create a level of intrigue in "The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde" that a first person viewpoint could never achieve. This method is used in "The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde" when characters in the novella can see things which the reader wants to see but cannot interpret. In the novel, the third person viewpoint is based around the amateur detective, Mr Utterson. Stevenson also uses other third person narratives such as the maid in "The Carew Murder Case." This helps to create a feeling of mystery and suspense. For example, if the novella had been from Dr Jekyll's perspective, there would never have been the dramatic and engaging which the reader experiences and everything exciting and mysterious would have been revealed very near the beginning, with no sense of intrigue throughout the novel. ...read more.

Conclusion

Other theorists have argued that perhaps Stevenson concludes that man is not in fact a purely dual being, but is at his heart a primitive being, tamed and civilized by the laws of society. Stevenson does portray Mr Hyde in highly animalistic terms - "short, hairy, and like a troglodyte with gnarled hands and a horrific face." In contrast, Dr Jekyll is described in the most gentlemanly terms - tall, refined, polite and honourable, with long elegant fingers and a handsome appearance. Thus, perhaps Dr Jekyll's experiment reduces his being to its most basic form, in which evil runs freely without considering the constraints of society and civilization. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are not the only examples of duality in the novel. The city of London is also portrayed in contrasting terms, as both a foggy, dreary, nightmarish place, and a well kept, bustling centre of commerce. Indeed, just as men have both positive and negative qualities, so does society. In conclusion, Robert Louis Stevenson uses several different methods of writing to cause intrigue throughout the novella such as: the third person viewpoint; the duality of humans; use of setting and mixing genres. But over and above this, I believe that the most intriguing part of this story is how Stevenson tells the story by continuously altering the point of view. Stevenson's use of this creates suspense and reinforces the novella's concentration on duplicity. An example of this is at the start when the story opens up with a focus on Mr Utterson, Dr Jekyll's friend and attorney, and his gradual uncovering of the horror that lies at the heart of the story. Then the narrative immediately shifts to Mr Utterson's friend and relative, Richard Enfield, who first informs Utter-son of the existence of Edward Hyde. Robert Louis Stevenson's ability to use all of these various writing skills to create intrigue and curiosity is the reason why his novella, "The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde," is one of the most well-known stories worldwide. ?? ?? ?? ?? Alex George 10B 1 English Coursework Alex George 10B 1 English Coursework ...read more.

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