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How Does Stevenson's Representation of Good and Evil in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Reflect his View of Victorian England?

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Introduction

How Does Stevenson's Representation of Good and Evil in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Reflect his View of Victorian England? In this piece of coursework, I am asked to first of all, discuss how the novel is mainly concerned with the struggle between good and evil. Next, I will be moving on to discovering the historical, social, and cultural issues of the novel; this will discus what Stevenson's literary influences were. Subsequently, I will be exploring the actual evil character oh Mr. Edward Hyde; this will include a character description of Hyde. Then, I will be analysing the evil incidents that Hyde commits; how Stevenson actually describes these attacks. The symbols of evil will then follow; what the door and the fog essentially represent. And finally, I will be ending with a conclusion, which will state what Stevenson's view of evil was, and how this good and evil of Jekyll and Hyde reflect his view of Victorian England. The novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is based around Mr.Utterson's, a longtime friend, and lawyer of Dr.Jekyll, and his search for the truth and the connection between Jekyll and Hyde, ending in the realization that they are actually the same person. ...read more.

Middle

The evil inside Hyde was uncontrollable. Mr Hyde is heartless; he tramples over a young girl without a care, "for the man trampled calmly over the child's body and left her screaming on the ground." This shows that Hyde didn't care that he hurt a child. Also, the phrase "trampled calmly" is a contradiction in terms for a particular effect. The words "trampled" and "calmly" clash with one another. You cannot trample 'calmly' because the word 'trample' is a very aggressive word, and the word 'calmly' is a very relaxed one. Therefore the words do not match up. The effect the words might have on the reader could be horrifying and confusing. It would be seen as horrifying because when the reader takes their first glimpse of the action it sounds aggressive, especially if it is being done to a child. The place where Mr Hyde lived is hauntingly silent, "The dismissal quarter of Soho seen under these changing glimpses, with its muddy ways, and slatternly passengers, and its lamps, which had never been extinguished or had been kindled afresh to combat this mournful reinvasion of darkness, seemed, in the lawyer's eyes, like a district of some city in a nightmare" By giving Hyde this terrifying setting, Stevenson encourages the reader to fear the man. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is because Jekyll was also a product of this repressive Victorian society as this made Jekyll feel guilty about not wanting to let his friends and other people know that he did not have a lighter, and more free side to him. As this guilt probably grew by each day, the feeling of wanting to be free also grew. This was the product of Victorian society. Stevenson's story appears to be a subtle attack on the middle classes. He grew up in these and knows all about the concealment and deceit of the "profound duplicity" among society. Jekyll believes himself to be in high society, "endowed besides with excellent parts,..., with every guarantee of an honourable and distinguished future". Apart from more similarities with Frankenstein, we can also see how Jekyll sees himself, and it is interesting that the doctor who already has a vast fortune chooses to gamble with his life, whereas the normal, less well endowed people, such as Poole, do everything to try and save him. Although, I do not believe that Stevenson is saying that the wealthy and rich are mad but that knowledge, money and dreams of fame and recognition can corrupt a good man, such as Jekyll. Mithun Rama 10DHA English Coursework Miss. Christie ...read more.

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