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Is "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" a typical gothic novel?

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Pre-20th Century Prose Essay IS "DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE" A TYPICAL GOTHIC NOVEL? "Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is described by many as a Gothic novel. The height of popularity for Gothic novels was the late Victorian period; however they are still being published today, showing an undying thirst for them. The recognised criteria for a gothic novel include: the story of an outsider, one who does not fit in to society, a misfit. They can explore the boundaries of evil and good and even try to break them. In gothic novels the weather tends to be of a cold, dark nature to signify the personality of the character plus the often, dark nature of the story. Animals associated with fear are often included and generally there is a form of civil unrest due to the actions of the title character. The story is more often than not characterised by mystery and supernatural horror. A reason why I think that "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is a typical gothic novel is because of the description of scenery. The street upon which Jekyll/Hyde resides is "on the left hand"; immediately this tells me that the house has an air of evil about it. ...read more.


This is just one of the many example of gothic architecture in the story. However, in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" the architecture seems to be typically Victorian, with little or no Gothic features. Another reason is the story revolves around the constant struggle that "man is not truly one, but truly two", this details that all men have a good side but we are constantly at war with our impulses to do evil. In this story Dr. Jekyll breaks the bounds between the two and becomes utterly consumed by evil. This is similar to another gothic novel- Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein". In this story the bounds are between life and death- "Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds". This struggle presents the weakness of man in regards to resisting temptation, and is a very common feature of a gothic novel. A different reason is because of Mr. Hyde himself. He is described as "a little man who was stumping". This allows me to imagine that because of his size and stature he is not a whole person; something is missing; a vital piece of the puzzle that forms a human. Hyde is also described as a "damned Juggernaut". ...read more.


Stevenson incorporates Social criticisms into his novel. These are his own personal views in which he subtly criticises society. One of the issues that Stevenson makes an example of is that of child prostitution. Previously, I mentioned Hyde trampling over a young girls body, this event took place at "about three o'clock of a black winter morning". This raises the question- what on earth would a young child be doing on the streets at that hour of the night? Mary Shelley also incorporates social criticisms into her novel- "Frankenstein". Everyone in the story judges the creation on his appearance, Shelley's criticism is that we should judge people on their character, personality and values; not by any means their appearance. Romance is also a common feature of a Gothic novel. For example in "The Modern Prometheus", Frankenstein himself is in love- "I thought I saw Elizabeth, in the bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt. Delighted and surprised, I embraced her". In "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" there is not a single wisp of romance, the novel is completely and utterly void of it. Yet another Gothic feature that "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" lacks. In conclusion "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" has some aspects of a Gothic novel, yet it lacks some small and yet some vital elements of one. Page 2 of 2 Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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