• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10
  11. 11
    11
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 4513 words

"If I Am The Chief Of Sinners, Then I Am The Chief Of Sufferers Also" - To What Extent Can The Reader Feel Sympathy For Dr Jekyll?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"If I Am The Chief Of Sinners, Then I Am The Chief Of Sufferers Also" - To What Extent Can The Reader Feel Sympathy For Dr Jekyll? In terms of this book, I think that it's difficult for me to place Jekyll as a complete sinner or a complete sufferer due to the varying influences of the other characters, the society of the time and the drug that Jekyll uses. My opinion of him tends to fluctuate throughout the book. Certainly, some of the language used by Stevenson can be rather grotesque at times and at others, heart wrenching. As the storyline progresses, the reader becomes more aware of what has happened to the reputable Dr Henry Jekyll and how his life gets turned upside down. However, our suspicions are only totally confirmed in "Dr Lanyon's Narrative" and "Henry Jekyll's statement of the case". Through the story, Jekyll displays acts of recklessness but also kindness and surprising self-control at times. It's these episodes, mainly in his statement of the case that I will analyze in order to draw a conclusion about his character and to what extent the title quote is true. I believe that the quote "If I am the chief of sinners than I am the chief of sufferers also" essentially refers to Jekyll transforming into Hyde. By all the pleasures in the lifestyle that this change brings, Jekyll has completely gone against G-d's will and the laws of nature (being the chief of sinners). This leads to Jekyll also being the "chief of sufferers" i.e., he'd never forgive himself for the massive sin that he commits. In his eyes and also those of society, he can never be redeemed. It also relates to the physical suffering that he has to endure, such as the "pangs of transformation", mentioned five times throughout "Jekyll's Statement of the Case". For me personally, during the time I have been studying this book, one sentence has stuck out in my mind, the very last sentence ...read more.

Middle

presented many years before to Henry Jekyll" (Pg26, 6th Paragraph) Using the information known from the previous chapters, the reader is beginning to build up a picture of what is going on here. A connection with Jekyll, a murder, we're feeling a serious lack of sympathy for Jekyll here, one of his associates has committed murder. The more informed reader realises that this is in fact Jekyll in his Hyde guise, in which case even less sympathy is felt, Jekyll has reached a new low in his alter-ego form. As we learn later on, the original objectives of Dr Jekyll were to separate good from evil, it could bring fame and fortune and do a lot of good for humanity, very innocent aims made with a good heart, every person across the planet could show simply their good side to others and the world may at last be at peace. It was due to his selfishness - and I use the term "selfishness" loosely - however, that led to his demise. Some may argue that Jekyll was simply an addict and that he was hooked onto whatever this potion was and yes, this is easy to see, as with any drug that gets you high, he experienced feelings of pleasure, happiness and freedom. Personally I think we can sympathise with Dr Jekyll in a lot of respects, however, things did go out of hand for him. Once murders were being committed, it did sink in that perhaps the transformations should stop, he managed this for a while, returning to his old self, he noticed it and his friends noticed it. However, despite deep and utter resentment, it wasn't long though until his hunger for what he had once experienced returned, and he gave in to his desires. Jekyll was addicted and in an act of extreme selfishness carried on taking his doses of potion. ...read more.

Conclusion

Now the reader feels proud of his good will, his commitment to giving up his addiction and once again feels sympathy for his situation, at least he's making a conscious effort to redeem himself. However, this momentary peaceful existence does not continue, Jekyll misses the freedom he experienced too much and gives in to his pang of desire. As himself, I don't think Dr Jekyll meant to cause the harm that he did, but under the influence of Hyde, he caused great evil, his apparent lack of self control makes him accountable for all the actions that he carried out, it requires a large degree of naivety to carry on with what he was doing, knowing full well that his actions were likely to be more and more serious, even, as the book says, beginning to long for more disruption, more evil to be caused. "To cast in my lot with Jekyll, was to die to those appetites which I had long secretly indulged and had of late begun to pamper. To cast it in with Hyde, was to die to a thousand interests and aspirations, and to become, at a blow and forever, despised and friendless" (Pg 68, 2nd Paragraph) I think a certain amount of sympathy can be felt for Jekyll and his impossible situation, he was faced with a huge decision, he enjoyed being Hyde so much, he was addicted to it however, if he was to carry on transforming, eventually, there would be no way to reverse the effect, slowly, by this point, Hyde was taking over his mind and body. Either he stopped being Hyde forever and lives a somewhat disturbed life with a constant longing to turn into his alter-ego or, stop being Jekyll and run a life of evil, with no friends and hatred all around him. He chose to continue giving in to his desires until the last traces of the once prominent gentleman Henry Jekyll had disappeared and in an extremely sad final paragraph, in a tone of extreme despair finally recognises that his life is slipping beyond his grasp. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson essays

  1. GCSE Jekyll and Hyde Essay

    discoloured wall.' 'Round the corner... there was a square of handsome houses.' This works for Hyde also. His house is located in Soho, a run down area of London, '... a dingy street...' Many of the rooms in the house have been left untouched.

  2. Jekyll and Hyde chapter by chapter summary.

    Jekyll becomes upset when he hears of this and tells Utterson to drop the subject. Utterson urges Hyde to confide in him, but again Jekyll tells Utterson to leave the subject alone and that he can be rid of Mr.

  1. Chapter 1: Story of the Door

    of duality and the theme of good versus evil, or the beautiful versus the ugly. Another interesting aspect of the duality involves the inter-textual images and allusions that Jekyll and Hyde invokes. In this chapter, the maid romantically gazing at the moon directly parallels a Keats poem, "Eve of St.

  2. Throughout the novel Hyde has a powerful effect on all who encounter him. Choose ...

    Mr Guest compares both letters and comes to the conclusion that the handwriting is the same but with a different slant - "...rather singular resemblance...". The effect that this has on Utterson is dramatic because he cannot believe that his old friend Henry Jekyll would even dare forge for a murderer - "...what...".

  1. Stevenson claimed that the inspiration of 'The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr ...

    The word 'projected' implies that Hyde was apart from Jekyll, as little more than a shadow, image or façade. This, whilst being true at the beginning, gradually changed as Hyde gained influence and control over control of Jekyll's body (Hyde's version of Jekyll's body, but only one could occupy the time and space at the same time).

  2. 'What method does R.L. Stevenson use to increase suspense in, 'The strange case of ...

    United, the crowd threatened to ruin the ugly man's good name unless she did something to make amends. The man, seeing himself trapped, bought them off with one hundred pounds, which he obtained upon entering the neglected building through its only door.

  1. How does the novel "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"bring out ...

    why, Stevenson says in his essay "Lay Morals": "We should not live alternately with our opposing tendencies in continual see-saw of passion and disgust, but seek some path on which the tendencies shall no longer oppose, but serve each other to common end."

  2. Hyde is presented as an ugly, deformed creature in the first extract, who seems ...

    It must therefore be an instinct to loathe Hyde as a usually emotionless man is feeling so much hatred towards him, although he has not done too much to hurt the doctor. In addition, the doctor also had âthe desire to kill himâ.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work