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'How does the Author, Robert Louis Stevenson, present Victorian attitudes to the nature of Humans?'

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Introduction

THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE 'How does the Author, Robert Louis Stevenson, present Victorian attitudes to the nature of Humans?' I have been exploring the ideas of R.L.Stevenson on Victorian attitudes to the nature of humans; and I will be presenting my findings and feelings in this essay. Scottish born, Robert Louis Stevenson, was born on 13th November 1850 in Edinburgh. His father, Thomas Stevenson, was an inventor, but R.L.Stevenson, who was bed-bound for much of his childhood, due to tuberculosis did not follow in his father's footsteps. Because of R.L.Stevensons condition most of his childhood he was unable to go out so begun to write books, whilst in bed. In 1886, at the age of 36, Stevenson wrote one of his best sellers, based on the play written six years before (1880). It was devised and written by W.E.Henley and Stevenson, himself, entitled 'Deacon Brodia'. This play is about an Edinburgh councillor who is a publicly respected person but privately is a thief. The great book was called 'THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE.' It is a gothic horror story set in the 19th century. This book inspired many great novels in the genre, a few of the best are Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' 1818, Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Ugly Duckling', 1845, Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 'Crime and Punishment', 1866, Bram Stoker's 'Dracula', 1897, Franz Kafka's 'Metamorphosis', 1915. The 19th century was the time of Queen Victoria's rein, and so adopted the name of the Victorian ages. Victorian life, in London especially, had a strong social and moral code. This was mainly found in the upper and middle class citizens. There was a strict social Hierarchy; all the workers (adults with labouring jobs) were the lower class. The upper and middle class people were normally the rich or the well off, and had either no job, or a job without labour involved, such as accountancy, a manager of a large company, etc. ...read more.

Middle

The biggest example of this is the theory of the creation of Earth and all life on it. Scientists claim they have sufficient scientific evidence to prove that the earth was a result of the big bang and that humans evolved from ape like creatures millions and millions of years ago, while religion is the belief of God creating the word with all the animals, plants, landscape and sea. One of the questions Religion is always arguing about with science; is the right of science. Does science have the right to clone? Does it have the right to test products on animals? does it have the right to vaccinate billions of the world race with 'jabs' such as the 'Meningitis C', 'Tuberculosis', 'MMR', and hundreds of others without having them being proven not to cause, sometimes, extremely damaging side effects? Of course religion is not against all aspects of science. God made night and day, light and dark, to light the dark he gave us fire, and science helped us to discover electricity, that god created, and is now used as light. But using science to change the way of mankind is against all morals of religion. Many people that do not care for science and are also non-religious would claim, nowadays, that it is a good thing to clone, or anything else being achieved by science. But it was quite different in the Victorian ages. Many, but not all, Victorians were of either catholic or protestant (or Presbyterian - A form/church for strict Scottish protestant). But the following belief was present in almost all Victorians, religious or not; to use science to try and overcome the human design was seen as non-gentleman like. It was seen as interfering with the way the human is meant to be. You are to fit into either villain, lower class, middle class or upper class, not un-human. ...read more.

Conclusion

had left on that body an imprint of deformity and decay. And yet when I looked upon that ugly idol in the glass...' (Page 73) Hyde's actions are extremely unacceptable, for example trampling over a young girl, which is a prime example of his savage beast capabilities, while Jekyll is very accepted as a member of the community because of his acceptable actions, non of which are too extreme or over dramatised. This beast-like bit comes out in this quote; 'and the next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot...' (Page 30) In conclusion I think the author is trying to put across the idea of the good Vs. bad and how this can be magnified due to substance abuse. This novel is a fine example of early horror stories, and due to this has become a classic. Readers are still drawn to the ideas of defying human limits. I agree that we all have a potential Mr Hyde in us, but I do not agree that our Mr Hyde should be a physical change from our normal physical state, nor do I believe that the change in our two personalities should be such an extreme one. Our Mr Hyde could be seen as an aspect of our personality and how this differs in other company or how we may show our evil as envy, or just as nastiness. I think today the social morals are greatly different from those of the Victorians. For example today there are still the two classes, upper and lower, but people do not have to fit into any. Freedom of speech and acceptance of people different to you has increased considerably. But on the other hand Stevenson makes a good point that actions taken equal consequences, and that if we're not careful things can quickly get out of control. Although Stevenson is writing about potions and chemical mixtures, this is relevant to the modern problem of substance misuse. I think Stevenson who wrote about the social morals of his time, still tackles the problems of this ever-changing modern world. - 1 - Words-3,273 ...read more.

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