How does Stevenson present good and evil in "Jekyll and Hyde"?
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Pre-1914 Prose Coursework How does Stevenson present good and evil in "Jekyll and Hyde"? The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a tale of contrast between good and evil. Robert Louis Stevensons novel demonstrates the adverse effects of scientific experiments and how the perception of doors can lead to evil. Furthermore "Jekyll and Hyde" is full of dual personality which in itself creates god and evil. Also it suggests that good cannot exist without evil. Firstly many of the rich and respected went out at night to experience how the other half lived. Here among the dim lit alleyways of the East End and under the protection of darkness did the upper class come out to play. They were frequently involved in illicit activities such as gambling, prostitution, brawling, heavy drinking and opium taking. They wanted to break away from the restraining shackles of society and enjoy the thrill of a concealed life at night away from the tight morals that governed the upper class. It was therefore no surprise that Enfield also led a secretive concealed life at night. 'Coming home from some place at the end of the world, about three o'clock of a black winter morning'. 'Some place at the end' suggests that Enfield is letting on too Mr Utterson that he was taking part in the extreme pleasures the city had to offer.
Whereas the word 'trampled' implies that Mr Hyde is not all there, as if he is intoxicated with drug usage or excessive alcohol consumption. Also trampling may suggest that a state of panic has arisen in Mr Hyde's mind to get home without being recognized or arrested due to his mutation of Jekyll. Furthermore Mr Hyde is described as being indescribable 'he gave an impression of deformity without any namable malformation' suggests that Mr Hyde possesses an aura of evil but shows know deformation from normal human form. This implies that no one knows how to describe Mr Hyde yet he is not deformed therefore suggesting his pure evil. No one has ever seen pure evil they have only felt or seen examples of what it can do also evil has never taken human form before. Whereas Dr. Jekyll is described as, 'a well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty... with every mark of capacity and kindness'. The word 'kindness' suggests that he was a generous, good man. Furthermore from these two examples you can see that Stevenson implies that Hyde represents evil and Jekyll represents good through the novel. In addition the Victorians believed in physiognomy which was where they thought that the way you looked linked with your personality. This relates to what I have already mentioned about the appearances of Jekyll and Hyde- Hyde being evil as he was ugly and Jekyll being good as he was an attractive man.
This may reflect on the personalities as Jekyll is starting to be overcome by the evil of Hyde and so in turn is becoming evil. This makes the reader confused and not sure what to think with this unexpected change however that is how Stevenson has presented some of the different forms of good and evil throughout the novel. In conclusion Robert Louis Stevenson presents good and evil as being partners, partners that should never be separated over wise the effects could be disastrous. Therefore Stevenson has shown us the reader that evil must co-exist if not to cause self-destruction. Furthermore he presented Jekyll as being addicted to Hydes evil and the more he tried to fight his addiction to further he sank into its horrific power. Also Stevenson shows us that for the world to survive good has to be forever locked in conflict. However Stevenson also presents good and evil through the perception of doors and how the shackles of society which many people crave are so easy to come by as to loose. We have grown up to believe that good always triumphs over evil yet if that is so eventually one day nature will conquer over man kind, as Stevenson proves that mankind is the route of all evil and therefore it is us that has to co-exist with nature. ?? ?? ?? ?? BEN GOURLAY 10X2
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