• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9

How does Stevenson Explore the Divided Nature of Human personality and Victorian Society in The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

Extracts from this document...


How does Stevenson Explore the Divided Nature of Human personality and Victorian Society in The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? In my essay I am going to discuss the story called The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This story is a pre 20th century gothic novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson. When I say a gothic novel I don't mean something of the dark ages but rather a story that has a dark deep story which ventures into the unknown. This story is typical of the 19th century when people had radical ideas which were questionable to those in Victorian society. The story starts with a person called Mr Hyde trampling over a young girl and producing a cheque with Dr Jekyll's name on it to pay for the damage done to the girl. Later Dr Jekyll's friends find that he has made a will to a man named Mr Hyde that was to be given to him under doctor Jekyll's death or disappearance. His friends think that he has been threatened or forced to make a will to this wicked man Mr Hyde. Later in the story the whole mystery was revealed to us. Dr Jekyll was involved in an experiment which was supposed to break the bond between good and evil. This barrier of good and evil could be put in comparison with Soho and Cavendish Square. The experiment that Dr Jekyll was involved in made his evil side come out which was Mr Hyde but to do this Dr Jekyll had to drink a potion. After a while Hyde's appearance could no longer be controlled with the potion but came out when ever Dr Jekyll dosed off. This is why Dr Jekyll made a will to Hyde because he was afraid that he will never be able to turn back to his normal self and Hyde will have money to spend instead of having nothing. ...read more.


There we see that he was very vague with his own friend, which is a very strange position. You could at least explain to your friend but since Jekyll had Hyde to hide he glazed over the subject leaving Utterson mystified. There is another example of this in the case of Dr Lanyon when he was speaking to Utterson about Jekyll he said "I swear to God I will never set eyes on him again." He did not say why he would not set eyes on him. Even though he was saving the reputation of Jekyll and keeping to his doctor's agreement not to release any information he still should of told Utterson because when Jekyll turned into Hyde lives were at risk as Hyde was a person of evil. So Stevenson shows that Victorian people of the upper class still strayed from their strict boundaries and were hypocritical they did this because they had something to 'Hyde'. Using a number of different techniques and images Stevenson creates a dark and menacing setting for the novel. Most of the action in the novel that in involves Hyde takes place under the cover of darkness and Stevenson frequently reminds us with this by giving us images of light and dark. Light can change people's moods all the way from bright and cheery to the opposite of dark and menacing. It is interesting that Stevenson uses a dark "black winter morning" when Enfield meets Hyde. This dramatic tension something bad had happened at that time hence Stevenson uses darkness to depict something sinister. Stevenson also refers quite a lot to lamps as they have to do with light. In the story it says "My way lay through a part of town where there was literally nothing to be seen but lamps." This depicts darkness in other words evil, and there is some good, the lamps, but where there is too much darkness and too few lamps it is like evil overwhelming the good. ...read more.


Because of the hypocrisy he witnessed, and was going through himself he wanted to bring to peoples attention that the seemingly perfect upper and middle classes were not what they seemed but on the whole a hypocritical bunch of people. Now days the things that the poor got up to don't seem as bad but when we look to authority we find it shocking to learn what goes on. An example of this is of Bill Clinton. We all know the story that he was having an affair with someone else when he was married and managed to hide it for some time. So think again, hypocrisy still goes on today. This essay had a great deal to do with the Victorian culture as this idea of duality perplexed many doctors and scientists of that day Stevenson tried to find the explanation for himself and no doubt other people of the day had tried to find the answer. Like the person who wrote a short story called Markhiem that had characters living double lives in it. Stevenson had a fetish about this idea of duality, it was no doubt because of his illness and inability to spend much time outside his bedroom and therefore his nurse told him stories about the differences between life of good and evil with the life of evil leading to a life in hell. This made him have terrible nightmares which stuck to him through out his whole life this is why in his stories he described Hyde as having the mark of 'Satan'. Stevenson recalls his nurse telling him "there are but two camps in the world - one perfectly pious and respectable, one of the perfectly mundane and vicious: one mostly on its knees and singing hymns, the other on the high road to the gallows and the bottomless pit." This no doubt made him think of the idea of recidivism because if one were so vicious they must be nearer to an animal instead of a human. 2 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    How and why does Stephenson explore the duality of man(TM)s nature in Strange case ...

    3 star(s)

    In the story, this theme is shown when Mr.Enfield says "I was coming home from some place at the end of the world, about three o'clock." In this statement it shows that Enfield does not want his companion knowing about his antics.

  2. How does Stevenson create mystery and suspense in the opening 8 chapters of ;The ...

    Again linking to the whole idea of Satan and Hyde being similar. Meanwhile the reader is left wondering what exactly it is he's done that's so terrible, pondering with the thought of blackmail, but also the worse crime of covering a murderers footsteps.

  1. How does Robert Louis Stevenson explore the duality of human nature in Dr Jekyll ...

    There was, discussion about Jack the Ripper being highly educated, that of a doctor like Jekyll, or professor or even royalty. Victorian society at the time of the novella's publication had a very large class divide, with the upper class honourable gentry and the poor, poverty ridden lower classes.

  2. How is the Dual Nature of Man's Personality Explored in "The Strange Case of ...

    This could emphasis the fact that Hyde looked different to other men; he may have looked slightly deformed. Jekyll has two doors leading into his house; one is used by himself and the other is used by Mr. Hyde. Stevenson describes these two doors in great detail as they both reflect the personality and attitude of their owners.

  1. What view of human nature does Stevenson present in the novel "The strange case ...

    The novel lights-up a path for us to explore and understand Victorian hypocrisy and confirms that the desire for infallibility can be lethal. This leads, one to wonder who is a hypocrite. The most obvious example of a hypocrite in the novel is that of Dr.

  2. How Does Stevenson Use Victorian Social Norms To Create Suspense In 'The Last Night' ...

    like Poole was paid to help his master and friends of his master such as Utterson if he was asked to and they would not be asked to help Poole.

  1. Analyse how R.L Stevenson explores the issue of the Duality of Human Nature in ...

    ask you to help him for my sake when I am no longer here...well...I promise". In this quote Utterson has agreed to Jekyll's terms due to the fact that he respects him and the decisions that he makes. Again, Stevenson has made it obvious that the characters of Jekyll and

  2. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

    Edward Hyde only appears briefly throughout the novel, and is first introduced through one of the other characters, Mr Enfield, telling the story of how he witnessed Hyde carelessly trampling all over a young for no apparent reason, late at night; this is what makes Hyde automatically come across as evil from the beginning of the story, to the readers.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work