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How does the novel "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"bring out differences in character of Jekyll and Hyde?

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Introduction

Q. How does the novel "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" bring out differences in character of Jekyll and Hyde? "The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" was written by R L Stevenson in 1886, in the Victorian times. The novel focuses on the theme of duality in man which was very evident in those times. The doctor belief that within each human being there exist two countering forces, good and evil, leads to his experiments that try to separate the two. This, however, was not done merely for scientific reasons, but also because he enjoyed escaping the confines of the respectable guise of Dr. Jekyll. In the Victorian times, many respectable and honourable men and women used to go out late at night to give went to their illicit feelings, but to the society they all showed a fa�ade of being honourable people with respect. Stevenson himself was the same. In front of the world he was a respected gentleman, but in private he was another man, who often visited sordid places of Old town in Edinburgh. Dr. Jekyll creates an alter ego as society would not allow him to live a life of evil and they would attack him if we tried. "I was driven to reflect deeply and inveterately on that hard law of life which lies at the root of religion, and is one of the most plentiful springs of distress." Stevenson feels it is society which forces us to lead a dual life. His "shilling shocker," conceived in a dream and written in a white heat, captured both his own deepest divisions and insights into the callous folly of late-Victorian hypocrisy. Stevenson had himself considered suicide at least three times and yet persisted through ill health to natural death. Maybe it was religion that led Stevenson to write the book. In the Victorian times, religion had a very strong hold on people. ...read more.

Middle

People simply cannot believe that anything like Hyde could really exist. They are in constant denial of their own duality. That is why Lanyan never survives to that final night. An earlier party to the knowledge that Jekyll and Hyde are one, he has already lost his life to that secret. Lanyan simply cannot adapt to the truths uncovered in the revelation of Hyde. He sinks slowly into death, his body following the lead of his "sickened" soul. Lanyan simply cannot accommodate himself to the horror of Jekyll unveiled. The truth that there can be another side to person is too much for him. Another aspect in which Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde differ in is their personality and their impact on people. We can see their personality through their belongings. Dr. Jekyll's house as described by Mr. Utterson wore a great air of wealth and comfort. His house was in a well-to-do, posh neighbourhood, where the people were all respectable and honest people. This reflects Dr. Jekyll also. It shows us that like his house he too was respected and honest and well to do. Mr. Hyde's house on the other hand was in a dingy neighbourhood, with muddy ways slatternly passengers Utterson describes it as "a district of some city in a nightmare." Hyde's house and surrounding as described by Mr. Utterson "a dingy street" "many ragged children huddled in the doorways" and "many women of many different nationalities passing out, key in hand, to have a morning glass." This shows us that Hyde lived in a low down dishonest part of town, it also reflect Hyde's personality of being a dishonest not respected person. Jekyll socializes with other people; he holds many parties and has many friends. Hyde on the other hand is a loner he has no friends. He wishes to remain in the shadows and not socialize with other people. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jekyll and Mr. Hyde we can only guess but what we do know is that his book reflects on the life of Victorian hypocrisy. He showed the many differences in Jekyll and Hyde to show us the many differences between us. The good and the evil within us are constantly in conflict and it is up to us to see which one triumphs. His book is not a confusing one nor one which's meaning is very clear but it is far from starting another Werther-craze, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde pioneered as a modern admonition of blind, self-destructive behaviour. Stevenson's fictional lawyers and scientists show dangerous second sides because they have not persisted in self-knowledge. His fictional workers, like the butler, Poole, see masks in place of the "horrors" that their presumed betters have become because they have opted for distorted vision over clear-sightedness. Stevenson beautifully portrays the difference between Jekyll and Hyde and links it to the two Jekyll and Hyde within each of us. Stevenson has clearly stated his point and made it understood that in all of us there are two side, the Jekyll side and the Hyde side. We can learn from this that we should not let our evil side even peep out for if given an inch it will take a yard. As in poor Jekyll's case, he made a great folly of believing that he could control his Hyde and that was his greatest flaw. He failed to recognize Hyde as evil and when he did it was too late as Hyde was to strong to control. Perhaps it was Jekyll himself who was evil as they say, 'evil begets evil' meaning evil gives rise to evil and if Jekyll created the evil Hyde then he too must have had some evil within him. Yet in the end we are able to say that good has triumphed over evil as Jekyll succeeds in killing Hyde who was true evil and that Jekyll must have had some good left in him to have caused Hyde to succumb to death. ...read more.

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