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How does Stevenson create mystery and suspense in the opening 8 chapters of ;The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'? How are we given clues as to the identity of Hyde?

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Introduction

How does Stevenson create mystery and suspense in the opening 8 chapters of ;The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'? How are we given clues as to the identity of Hyde? Jekyll and Hyde is the dark story written by Stevenson about one man with a split personality, or the 'beast inside the man'. It was written in 1886 and is thought to be based on the characters Burke and Hare; needless to say it caused outrage at the time, as shortly after the book was released Jack the Ripper terrorised London and shared the same characteristics as the evil Mr. Hyde. Stevenson was brought up by his nurse, and she told him there were only two types of people that existed in the world: good and bad, i.e Jekyll and Hyde. Despite the fact that people were shocked by the idea of a respectable doctor meddling with science and enticing another evil side or beast of himself, the book was still hugely popular and even today when people refer to someone slightly crazy or with drastic mood swings they are said to be "like Jekyll and Hyde!" The story begins with the introduction of Mr. Utterson; a serious, rspectable yet quite lonely man, as Stevenson writes "he drank gin when he was alone and although he enjoyed the theatre, he had not crossed the doors of one for twenty years" and " a man of utter countenances that was never lighted by a smile". ...read more.

Middle

Chapter 3 sees a description of Dr, Jekyll upon the description of Mr Hyde as well, and as he is mentioned Jekyll is said to have "grown pale to the very lips, and there came a blackness about his eyes" showing even the mention of Hyde can arouse the evil side in a man and shows the depth in darkness of Hyde's character-something Victorian readers were morbidly fascinated but equally scared by. Jekyll goes on to describe his situation as a 'very strange one' which deepens readers and Utterson's suspicions that he is being blackmailed, and the line "if I am taken away" provokes even more suspicion towards Mr.Hyde. There's a gap in time between chapters 3 and 4, and Hyde's disappearance seems to have eased anxiety, i.e, made people drop their gaurds, as in chapter 4 comes Hyde's worst crime yet: a murder. There is a great build up to the murder, everything in the scene being affected by it, the weather (pathetic fallacy) being foggy "the fog rolling over the city" indicating a mist of uncertainty and mystery about events and representing the character of Mr.Hyde, who we still know little about. A woman is the only witness in the scene and this makes the event even more dramatic, because now not only does something horrific happen but someone as feeble as a woman had to watch it as well! ...read more.

Conclusion

of Mr Hyde's voice; strangely enough Poole has seen a man in the room that is small and rat-like, quite the opposite of tall proud Jekyll. The absence of Jekyll and presence of Hyde makes the reader believe that Hyde has finally done it and killed Jekyll like has been suspected through the story. Clues keep the reader constantly thinking and on edge, and this creates mystery and suspense as different thoughts are crossing their minds all the time.Even after the 'last night' nothing is properly revealed so a certain element of mystery is maintained even after the story finishes. Obviously the novel would have been much more gripping for Victorian readers because nowadays the ending of the story is very well-known so the clues aren't as effective; but for a Victorian audience the storyline of a man messing with science enough to entice his evil side would have shocked yet engaged them completely. Stevenson uses well placed clues that are enough to make readers suspicious, but not quite enough to give them a certainty on the outcome. Every chapter leaves a question which can change your idea on the secret between the link of Jekyll and Hyde, and nothing is ever fully explained. Even nowadays, despite the famous storyline secret, the story is still as enjoyable as ever as people can look out for the clues to Hyde's identity. People enjoy being scared by the unknown, and Jekyll and Hyde certainly has plenty of that. ...read more.

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