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How successfully does 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' use the conventions of the horror genre? Explain your answer, looking closely at details of the text, and comparing the novel with other horror stories you have read or seen.

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Introduction

How successfully does 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' use the conventions of the horror genre? Explain your answer, looking closely at details of the text, and comparing the novel with other horror stories you have read or seen. 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' is a short novel written by the famous author, Robert Louis Stevenson. Stevenson's ambition from an early age was to be an writer, although his father had different ideas. In one of his most famous novels, 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', Stevenson captures the extremism of Dr. Jekyll's split-personality; his desire to let his dark side run wild, achieved by drinking a magical potion that changes him into the animalistic, violent and somewhat evil Mr. Hyde. The word "horror" categorises everything typically frightening, in every sense. Horror conventions include anything from darkness, shadows and night-time to werewolves, knives and blood; from monsters, violence and death to screaming, animal howls and creaky doors. "Horror" is simply a term to summarise all things scary, and is used mostly to describe books and films. 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' can be seen as a horror novel, because of its shocking and horrific content. In this essay I will explore the ways and successes in which Stevenson presents the story of 'Dr. ...read more.

Middle

This alone adds to the horror, as it builds up the tension and creates the twist in the story. Throughout the story, there are hints given that Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde are in fact the same person; one of these includes a quote from Edward Hyde: "You will not find Dr. Jekyll; he is from home." As suggested in the novel, Jekyll seems to be "pretty sure" of Hyde, meaning he knows him very well indeed. Another hint includes Mr Utterson's reaction when he is presented with the stick that Hyde had used to kill Sir Danvers Carew. Utterson instantly recognises the stick "for one that he had himself presented many years before to Henry Jekyll." These hints mostly go un-noticed or un-considered, but they add mystery to the plot throughout the whole story, which gives the story an increasing amount of tension. Dr. Jekyll's door is used symbolically as a block between Jekyll and the rest of the world, which almost suggests that the world outside literally can not understand Henry Jekyll. The door is always closed, which creates an undefined suspicion of Jekyll. This creates horror in that we can not be certain what Jekyll is always doing hidden away in his laboratory, although we are almost certain it can't be good. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' is the savage acts of Hyde. Hyde's murder of Sir Danvers Carew and the trampling of the little girl are described in horrific detail. The trampling of the little girl was described by Mr. Enfield: "... the man trampled calmly over the child's body and left her screaming on the ground." The murder of Sir Danvers Carew was described like this: "... he broke out in a great flame of anger, stamping with his foot, brandishing the can... like a madman." This is horrible, and Hyde is made to look like a "madman." The horror continues to build up as we discover that Hyde must be simply insane, and he will do whatever he pleases, not caring what the world thinks of him. In conclusion, 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' is a very successful horror story. It uses many different horror conventions and has parts of the plot which successfully build up the tension throughout the whole story, such as the little clues that suggest Jekyll and Hyde are the same person, and the laboratory door. However, there are weaknesses in the plot; Mr. Hyde is small and not intimidating like other horror characters such as Frankenstein. Generally though, 'The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' is a very successful horror novel, and would probably stand among the top 10 best horror stories of all time. ...read more.

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