• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' more than a simple horror story?

Extracts from this document...


Zaki Rafiq-Khatana 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson Is 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' more than a simple horror story? When asked this question, the immediate answer is, yes. Robert Louis Stevenson uses the features of a conventional horror story, which were very popular at the time, but also uses the story to raise social issues and make criticisms about the hypocrisy and double standards of Victorian society, in general, and Victorian London in particular. The first aspect of horror to be noticed is that the main events of the story, such as the death of Mr. Hyde, usually take place at night. The idea of these events taking place at night creates an eerie atmosphere, full of suspense. An example of this is the setting for when he little girl is trampled on by Mr. Hyde. It is described as "three o'clock of a black winter morning". As said before, this builds up atmosphere and makes the reader think that maybe something unexpected is going to happen. Also the murder of Sir Danvers Carew took place "in the small hours" or "the early part of the night". Also, the back of Jekyll's house falls onto a dark alleyway, which is where Hyde lives. Hyde is an evil character so the idea of him going living at the back of the house where it is dark and dirty is quite deliberate. It adds to the idea of Hyde being a sinister and secluded character. Violence plays a great role in the story as well. ...read more.


Instead, they build it up even more. In Jekyll's letter to Utterson, he describes the situation he is in as "nameless". This is because it is unique and so has never been described before. It makes the reader wonder what his "nameless situation" is. Stevenson criticises Victorian society in this novel as well as the normal features a gothic horror story has. He makes reference to the typical Victorian gentleman through his characters, especially Utterson. Utterson is described as being "backward in sentiment", showing that he is slow to show his emotions. He is very "austere" and is "never lighted by a smile". He represents a certain type of Victorian gentleman who strives to live an upright, strictly moral life. He is shown to read for hours from a religious book on Sundays. Whether he likes doing it is something different, he just wants to be thought as a respectable person because an outward devotion to God was considered a worthy characteristic. Utterson's friends "were those of his own blood", which shows that he would only be friendly with people of a similar status or occupation, such as Enfield. Enfield is a distant relative who is "a well-known man about town". He is friends with Utterson even though they seem to have nothing in common. Utterson is Dr. Jekyll is another character Stevenson uses to show Victorian gentlemen. He represents the wealthy and rich part of society. For example, his house is "furnished with cabinets of oak". Dr. Jekyll's house is grand and well kept. His front door "wore a great air of comfort and wealth". ...read more.


This could suggest that all women were trampled on, not generally physically, but by how they were treated in society. The women who surrounded Hyde at this scene are described as being "as wild as harpies". The servant who witnessed the killing of Sir Danvers Carew fainted after seeing it happen. This shows women to be mentally and physically weak. Another way this is shown by Stevenson is when Poole and Utterson go to find out what is wrong with Jekyll. The moon is used to give a negative image of women. It says, "The pale moon, lying on her back as though the wind had tilted her..." It shows women to be weak and submissive and that they have to rely on men to be able to live. When Utterson and the police got to search for Hyde, they meet his landlady. She is said to have "an evil face" which has been "smoothed by hypocrisy". She is presented as being unpleasant and she also takes delight in the idea that Hyde is in trouble, "a flash of odious joy appeared upon the woman's face". It is implied that she enjoys scandal and also that she is two-faced. This is another negative way of showing women. One thing that is unclear is that Stevenson could either be joining in with negatively portraying women or he could actually be trying to make people realize how unpleasant they are being to women. Stevenson also highlights how bad pollution was at the time. He describes the fog that filled the air as "rich, lurid brown" and like a "great chocolate-coloured pall" and that it "rolled over the city". London was very industrial at the time so the smoke from factories caused pollution to get this bad. ...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. How does Stevenson create the atmosphere of suspense, horror and mystery in the first ...

    Is Henry Jekyll being blackmailed by Edward Hyde? Stevenson has deliberately put the reader out of their comfort zone by creating all of these unexplained questions throughout the chapter, thus making the reader more confused as the chapter goes on, as these unexplained questions are waited to be answered.

  2. How does R.L. Stevenson create fear and suspense in the novel " The Strange ...

    Hyde and are condoling the death of a gentleman. The colouring of the fog also plays a significant role to represent the colouring of evil emotions. Atmosphere also plays an important role when Mr. Utterson is being guided to Dr. Jekyll's house. The atmosphere consists of harsh winds, which "flecked the blood in the face."

  1. How does Stevenson create mystery and suspense in the opening 8 chapters of ;The ...

    revealed as evil All these adjectives used make Hyde something almost untouchable and unreal, the type of monster you read about in horror stories and Greek legends. The reader is left in the dark, thinking only who Mr. Hyde could be and what link he has to the other characters

  2. Explore the ways in which Stevenson uses setting to enhance the readers understanding of ...

    Although his character description at the beginning of the book makes him sound like a dark man- "never lighted by a smile, cold, scanty, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable" shows that he was a light character. The repression in Utterson is somewhat felt in the welcoming street as

  1. how does Robert Louis Stevenson Create a sense of Mystery, Horror and Suspense ...

    This raises suspicions in the readers mind about Dr. Jekyll now that they see that one of his dearest friends now speaks of him in such a way. He sys that his "unscientific balderdash" was so delirious and immoral that is could have "estranged Damon and Pythias" who in Greek mythology are known for being inseparable friends.

  2. Explore and analyse the significance of the setting in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” ...

    Stevenson uses warm and pleasant vocabulary to describe Jekyll's cabinet, but the irony is that Hyde commits suicide in there. Interestingly, it portrays the contrast between Jekyll wanting to die and Hyde being afraid of death. In my opinion this ultimately indicates that Jekyll has won.

  1. What impressions of Mr Hyde are created in the first two chapters of ‘Doctor ...

    to look at his face and then find out the secret of why Hyde is so friendly with his close friend Jekyll. Uttersons' searching again builds up a picture of fear, and we are told that Utterson began to 'haunt the door' to Hyde's house. The word 'haunt' frightens us.

  2. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

    the community, as Sir Danvers was a gentleman who was highly looked up to so he seizes the chance. In addition to this Sir Danvers was said to be walking the street alone, late at night around the time of his murder so despite the fact that he appears to

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