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How is the Dual Nature of Man's Personality Explored in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"?

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Introduction

How is the Dual Nature of Man's Personality Explored in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"? The double nature or duality of man's personality is explored in great detail in "The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Robert Louis Stevenson (the author) wrote "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" in 1886. All of the 19th century was troubled with the idea of a "double self" often referred to as a "doppelganger." It was a time when authors wrote stories of death, re-birth, urbanism, imperial decline, sexual revolution and sexual epidemics. The concerns of this time period are reflected on Stevenson's novel as he raises such issues as split personality (schizophrenia), animal instincts, sexuality, violence and good against evil. These concerns all help to portray the dual nature of mans personality in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". The novel is set in Victorian London where expectations are high and reputations are valued. The book is about a man called Dr. Jekyll. He believes that "man is not truly one, but truly two." This means that he thinks there are two sides to every person; a good side constantly battling with an evil side. He thinks that if these two personalities can be separated, then the world will be delivered from suffering. ...read more.

Middle

Hyde's door is different to the other doors in the street; his door is vandalised and neglected, whereas the other doors in the London road are cared for and pristine. This shows us that Hyde does not care about appearances and expectations of Victorian society. Other doors in the street are lit up during the hours of darkness; Hyde's door has no outside light and the doorway sits in the shadows. The lack of light, together with the absence of a bell or door knocker, clearly demonstrates that Hyde neither expects nor welcomes visitors. Although the doors are a complete contrast of each other, they both lead into the same house. Jekyll's door is at the front of the house for the public to see and use, while Hyde's door is at the rear of the house for only private usage. The arrangement of the two doors greatly reflects the double nature of man; Jekyll is the front that is put on show for Victorian society to accept whilst Hyde is the evil within that is trying to be hidden and kept at the back. Jekyll can often be very hypocritical because, even though he is constantly trying to separate himself from Hyde, at times he does enjoy being his other personality, "There was something strange in my sensations, something indescribably new and, from it's very novelty, indescribably sweet. ...read more.

Conclusion

"...for even in the houses the fog began to lie quickly." This implies that the hidden secrets are everywhere and you cannot get away from them, like you cannot get away from the fog. This shows me that, although people may try to deny the fact that they have an evil side to them, they cannot get away from the truth that they do. Another technique that Stevenson has used effectively, is telling the tale through multiple perspectives. He has told the story mostly through the perspective of Mr. Utterson. However, in chapter nine - Doctor Lanyon's Narrative, the story is told in Lanyon's perspective and in chapter 10 - "Henry Jekyll's full statement of the case" the whole story is told through Jekyll's perspective. This gives the reader variety and portrays different views on the same event which can provide a clearer understanding of the book. In conclusion, the double nature of man's personality is explored in "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". On it's own, the great contrast between Jekyll and Hyde shows us this in a large way but also the use of personification, hypocrisy and multiple perspective. In society today, we have adapted the phrase "Jekyll and Hyde". We use the term to imply that someone has two sides or characters to them. In my opinion, duality is still in the world today. Sometimes we are forced to put on a front in order to impress or appear confident to someone and be accepted. ...read more.

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