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If 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' intrigues us as a window into the Victorian World, it is also a brilliantly crafted story.

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Introduction

If 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' intrigues us as a window into the Victorian World, it is also a brilliantly crafted story 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', by Robert Louis Stevenson, is an illustrious masterpiece of its genre and very popular among the public of its time, and even still among those today. Even at a short eighty-eight pages long, Stevenson's manner of writing incorporates an assortment of themes and a large array of hidden layers and meanings in the midst of the pages. One can delve deeply into the phrases and words Stevenson uses in the story to reveal different meanings hidden underneath, such is his way of storytelling, and although such meanings are presented, Stevenson also shows the reader in great, vivid detail what the Victorian world was like. His description in its accuracy opens a window into the Victorian era and as well as being a well-told story, 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is also, as such, nearly a historical document of the Victorian era, and gives the reader a vivid picture of what life was like when Stevenson wrote the book. The novel itself distinguished itself from other, fanciful stories of that time (such as 'Dracula' and 'Frankenstein'). Much of this is to do with aspects such as Stevenson's choice of narrator, and how there are documents in the story which are written as such as to pretend to be real. ...read more.

Middle

Although a locked door is as the end of the path, an unlocked one can yet be crossed, and Utterson gains enough to unlock the door and cross the threshold. A closed door means concealment, as Jekyll conceals Hyde, and one only conceals if guilty. The story begins and ends with a door, as a metaphor to the opening and closing of a story for example. The door elicits Enfield's story which triggers Utterson's though about the will and so on, and at the end they break down the door to Jekyll's cabinet. As a warden of privacy, a door excludes people. Jekyll yearns but to hide from the world, in the form of Hyde, yet unlike Hyde, Utterson respects boundaries and privacy. Jekyll did not know where the boundaries lay when he experimented, he did not know where he had gone too far. Or perhaps it is guilt which compels him to hide himself away; guilt that he had long crossed the line, and a though perhaps that now he has discovered what ought not to be discovered, there is no going back. In describing the city at the beginning of the book, Stevenson uses the phrase "Labyrinth of a lamp-like city". A labyrinth is in the ancient Greek myth of the Athenian hero Theseus, whereat the centre lays the beast. However in this context, at the centre of this "labyrinth" could be the answer to the mystery of the story, or the knowledge being sought. ...read more.

Conclusion

One then begins to wonder if Jekyll has not already begun his transformation into Hyde, or if Hyde is becoming completely independent of Jekyll and developing perhaps a free will of his own within Jekyll. This shows particularly the duality between these two personas, and Stevenson leaves what is really happening unclear for the reader's mind to wonder and contemplate. There are a few different accounts which make up the story, primarily that of Utterson's, but others include documentaries of Jekyll's and Lanyon's, and the maid's eye witness view of the murder of Carew. The documented accounts Stevenson very shrewdly gives a fixed date at which these documents may be studied. The raison d'�tre is that it may add suspense and trepidation. If Utterson had no prefixed date of delineated event occurring, opening these documents would destroy the point of the story from the start. "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" certainly is a magnum far ahead of its time. It still persists to haunt us today, as it makes its way into films and other forms of modern media. There is also still common speculation about the very realistic psychological aspect of the story to do with the duality in characters. Although naturally it is not possible to change entirely into another person, there is a very psychological view of this to do with mental state and health which is very real among us today. It gives the book a very prophetic feel to it, as if Stevenson is using his book to envisage the future events and mounting issues with mental health we have today. ...read more.

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