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In what ways is the 'profound duplicity' exhibited by Jekyll a reflection of the Victorian way of life?

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Introduction

Lauren Allen In what ways is the 'profound duplicity' exhibited by Jekyll a reflection of the Victorian way of life? The Victorian society was filled with many divisions. It consisted of two extremes, the very wealthy and intense poverty. It was these divisions that contributed to the causes behind the life of Henry Jekyll to be split between the two. However, there are many other reasons as to why Jekyll wanted the best of both worlds. Within the Victorian period, there were many successes, including inventions such as the first public railway link between the coal mines of Darlington and the port of Stockton; this was built by an engineer named George Stevenson. Also was the improvements in people's health, this was due to progresses with clean water and better drains. Victorian scientists, for example, Michael Faraday, also made discoveries such as various inventions including the telegraph, the telephone and the electric light. In addition to this the British Empire had grown like never before. At this point the Victorians were in a time of sanguinity and fulfilment. However in the country's capital, London, not everywhere was quite like this. The city was divided in to two, the rich and the poor. Regents Park was filled with respectable and hard working people. Conversely a few streets down backing on to Regents Park, was Soho, a place of squalor and deprivation, yet the wealthy were not going to make any changes, they liked the way it was and saw no need for the situation to change. ...read more.

Middle

After travelling throughout Europe in 1884 he was advised to settle in Bournemouth, where he met and married his wife, Fanny Osbourne. Fanny was known to be a strict woman, and it was often heard that Stevenson was to call her 'Mother'. His nightmares returned and after a three day attack of fever and haemorrhaging, he wrote the well known novel, 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. This was plainly a story of a divided self. Around this time cracks began to appear amongst the Victorian society. Charles Darwin was an English naturalist. He is famous for his theory of 'natural selection', which means that some species are better able to survive than others. When published in 1859, this theory caused an uproar, Darwin had also suggested that humans had evolved from apes. Darwin's most famous book was 'The Origin of Species', This said that the Earth was much older than most people thought, and that animals and plants had evolved over millions of years. This theory disagreed with the story of creation given in the Bible, causing an uproar within the community. Many Christians believed that everything in the Bible was true and should not be questioned. People such as Darwin were now speaking out, they wanted there views to be considered, and if not at least heard. The public began demonstrations calling for higher wages, better working conditions, and also enhanced living conditions. In the novel 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' Stevenson was trying to show how difficult life was in Victorian times and that when people were under such pressures they can appear to be someone who is actually another. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lanyon condemned these experiments and left Jekyll to continue with them on his own. Despite this after Jekyll realises his fate, in that he is unable to beat Edward Hyde, and asks for Lanyon's assistance, Lanyon is unable to resist temptations until eventually his curiosity kills him. 'The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is a novel of duplicity, Henry Jekyll accomplished his dreams of being able to lead a double life, and was left dead, unable to beat his evil side. However it was not just Jekyll affected by the pressures of austere Victorian life. Hyde's landlady is an example of this, she should have stayed loyal to Hyde , but failed by allowing Scotland Yard to search the rooms of the house, this showing another side to her personality. Duplicity was not only shown through the characters, or in the divide of the cities, but also within Jekyll's house itself. Jekyll's house was situated in Regents Park and from the front looked respectable, with a tidy interior and a typical example of how people should be living, but attached to the back of the house was the laboratory. This was the complete opposite of the House Jekyll lived in, and was where Hyde use to come and go. This part of the house helps show the differences in Jekyll and Hyde and again the idea of duplicity. Although Henry Jekyll was not the only character to show duplicity, he was the main focus; the novel shows the readers a contrast between Jekyll and Hyde, and lets us see how, in the end, evil wins through. ...read more.

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