• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How Does Stevenson's use of setting in "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" reveal the themes in the novella?

Extracts from this document...


Jack Prickett How Does Stevenson's use of setting in "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" reveal the themes in the novella? "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886 in Bournemouth, but set in Victorian London. This story is about how a London lawyer, Mr Utterson peruses the last will of his old friend Henry Jekyll that his suspicions are aroused, is Dr Jekyll the evil Edward Hyde? Stevenson's ideas originated in a dream he once had. Upon waking he recalled 'a fine bogy tale' and began to write about it. The focus on the split personality and underlying suggestion that evil is potentially more powerful than good ensure its continued popularity over a hundred years on. There were many influences acting upon Stevenson when he wrote this novel, there was a divide in society which was created by the Industrial Revolution, the divide between the classes was great, and caused a big gap in wealth between the rich and the poor. Stevenson was also influenced by religion, stories by Alison Cunningham meant nightmares of hell stayed with him. He also decided that the world is not made up of good and bad, but people were a mixture of both. Literacy influences included a story so shocking and different for the earth in the 19th century that no one had ever thought like this before. ...read more.


Stevenson explores this duality in every human mainly through Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde. Stevenson suggests that in all of us there is a seed of evil, "man is not truly one, but truly two" The story also demonstrates how an innocent curiosity about our darker side of our nature can get out of hand, "in the agonized womb of consciousness these polar twins should be continually struggling". All the characters in the story suggest good and evil, fro example, Lanyon didn't tell anyone about what Jekyll was up to, the respected man, but was wandering the streets at night; maybe he wasn't the good man he was made out to be. The hypocrisy of man's actions is a very central theme to this story. Stevenson makes Hyde represent the dark side which is present in all people, but some of the other characters want to kill Hyde, and in wanting to do this, they are rejecting what is in fact part of their true selves and so are therefore also guilty of hypocrisy. When the policeman hears of Danvers death he immediately thinks that if he finds the murderer the he will get promotion, "And the next moment his eye lighter up with professional ambition". Lanyon also doesn't help anyone by not telling anyone about Jekyll. Stevenson uses several symbols to represent the predominant atmosphere of secrecy in the novel. ...read more.


Hyde lives it is not very nice, just live the evil person himself - not very nice. This door connects to Dr. Jekyll's house and laboratory the door leads directly to the laboratory, with a square courtyard in the middle, and Jekyll's house on the opposite side, again showing the good on one side, and the evil on the opposing side. Within this complex on buildings there are many locked doors, bars on the windows, and dark rooms, hiding away secrets, and creating tension in the novel. The weather plays a great part in revealing the themes of the novella, when Utterson and the police are trying to find Hyde the day turns to night which is a metaphor for Jekyll changing into Hyde and the dark side of the character being revealed, it also shows the secrecy of the underworld at night and the oppression of the dark side of life. The day that Jekyll transforms into Hyde in the park is a clear calm day, but he transforms due to the thoughts of evil and the growth of evil within him, this shows great hypocrisy as the quiet, joyful, still day can still produce evil. In conclusion the setting is very important as it makes the story realistic, this can only be done if the setting itself is believable, which it is, Stevenson does this by making the setting description extremely detailed and by using vivid imagery and description. This doesn't just make the setting realistic but also makes the book a very interesting read. ...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. How Stevenson uses his techniques as a writer to present character and atmosphere in ...

    He also mentions the bystanders' reactions. The doctor who was at the scene had turned 'sick and white with the desire to kill him.' From these reactions the reader can only think that the 'Gentleman' was something bad. Hyde is still unnamed because this would have been read in instalments.

  2. " How effective is the setting in creating tension and suspense in Stevenson's works?"

    In 'The Body Snatcher' tension and suspense is also created; in the beginning, the four members meet in the town of Debenham, and it mentions the weather "come rain or snow or frost", which may mean that the setting could be in the middle of winter, and so Stevenson has

  1. "Man is not truly one, but truly two" - A discussion on how this ...

    He cannot abide the thought that there may possibly be a Mr. Hyde of his own, locked up inside him. Stevenson uses language as a tool of emphasising his ideas of double being, and also uses the characters as examples in the underlying parable.

  2. How does Stevenson explore the theme of duality in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

    Another element that proves that he had split personality is that in which he states in his final letter: '...I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man .

  1. Stevenson claimed that the inspiration of 'The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr ...

    This ties in with the earlier point about older buildings as being part of the setting. When it is described as bearing in 'every feature' the marks of damage, it emphasises the extent of the damage. The condition is described as 'sordid', which implies a seedy, sinister location.

  2. How does Stevenson Explore the Divided Nature of Human personality and Victorian Society in ...

    So this shows that though one may have good intentions in the beginning they can be changed by unforeseen circumstances so it shows that it is hard to control that quality of evil. You could say that Enfield leads a double life as he saw the girl being trampled down

  1. Chapter 1: Story of the Door

    In the beginning of the novel, the central thing that arises curiosity by Mr. Utterson is the mysterious will. In this chapter, it is a letter (of which we never learn the nature of, nor the nature of the relationship between Sir Danvers Carew and Mr.

  2. How Does the Setting Contribute to the Suspense and Atmosphere in “The Strange Case ...

    "Two doors from one corner, on the left hand going east, the line was broken by the entry of a court; and just at that point, a certain sinister block of building thrust forward its gable on the street. It was two storeys high; showed no window, nothing but a

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