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How does Stevenson portray his character in 'Jekyll and Hyde?'

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Introduction

29/09/08 - Monday English Coursework Jekyll and Hyde The novel was written in 1986, by Robert Louis Stevenson, who at the time was best known for his children's adventure story 'Treasure Island'. The plot of the story is about an ordinary, kind-hearted man (Dr Jekyll) who works as a doctor and scientist. He a highly respected member of the Victorian society and well-known for his charitable deeds, until one day, when he invents a potion which instigates the transformation from Jekyll to the evil 'Mr Hyde' (the part of his personality which most people keep well hidden). After a while he vows to stop himself from transforming into Hyde, but deliberately does not destroy the potion, which shows the reader that no matter how hard he tries to stop himself from taking the potion, temptation will always prove to difficult, and eventually it take over and he begins transforming once again. However, after a while he realises that it is becoming harder and harder to turn back into Jekyll, as Hyde is gradually becoming stronger. Some of the ideas from the novel are generally a reflection on things which were happening in society at the time. For example, Hyde is described as an 'Ape like creature' who 'Moves like a monkey' and this is a reflection of society at the time as the 'Darwin theory' had just been presented to the public, and people were generally insulted to think that they had evolved from apes, which is how Hyde is described in the novel. ...read more.

Middle

However, Hyde's motives were not influenced by individuals such as Deacon Brodie, whose evil side is inspired by the need for greed and personal gain. Hyde's motives are different, because he commits murders because he wants to and because he can get away with it. 'His every act and thought centred on self, drinking pleasure from bestial, avity from any degree of torture to another, relentless, like a man of stone' He doesn't care about anyone, and therefore feels no guilt for any crimes he's committed and this behaviour can also be seen when he tramples over the girl. It is clear as the novel progresses that Jekyll is becoming more and more tempted by the lifestyle and freedom of Mr Hyde, to the point he can no longer control the transformation between the two personalities, eventually realising the only way to stop it is to take his own life. As Mr Hyde, Jekyll can be free to commit crimes without conscience or feeling guilty, but as his temptation grows so does the evil of Hyde's crimes and he eventually reached the point of murder. Utterson is also seen by his friends and the general public as a respectable and trustworthy lawyer, who we also know has a distant relative, who is also a character in the book, called Enfield. However Utterson's character also fits in with Stevenson's view on human nature that humans are complex creatures and that they all have more than one side to them or personality. ...read more.

Conclusion

perfectly with the events happening in the book, for example 'haggard shaft of daylight', 'swirling wreaths' and 'a great chocolate coloured pall, lowered over heaven'. The different parts of London are used when describing the difference between Jekyll's house and Hyde's door on the 'dingy street'. The way that Stevenson has used certain words and phrases to describe the weather and setting at different times of the novel, add emphasis to the events happening at that point in the story, like the 'Carew Murder'. Words such as 'Blackguardly surroundings', 'back-end of evening' and 'the wind was continually charging and routing these embattled vapours'. Perhaps one of the most important descriptions is on the night in which Hyde commits his first murder, the weather is described as 'the first fog of the season' and sets the perfect atmosphere for danger and mystery, leading to a tragic event. Overall, I believe that Stevenson's views of a double nature are true as everyone has more than one personality; it just depends on how well you hide it. And this is why Hyde began as a dwarfish sized man and then as Jekyll found it harder and harder to resist the temptation of transformation, and the evil of Mr Hyde became worse, Hyde grew in size. The main point was that the potion took over his life, and Dr. Jekyll finally realizes he is unable to transform back into his goodness. He attempts to commit suicide, as this is his only way of destroying Mr. Hyde. ...read more.

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