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Jekyll and Hyde

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Language & Literature Coursework: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Q. How does Jekyll and Hyde question the nature of respectability, morality and hypocrisy? Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson was born in Edinburgh on Friday 13th December 1850. His father and mother were Thomas Stevenson and Margaret Balfour but he was largely raised by his nanny, Alison Cunningham (Cummy). Due to her stern Protestantism he was raised on the belief that the evil actions he committed would lead to Hell, Fire and damnation. This affected him as a child as he had nightmares and images of Hell. He had these for a large portion of his life which could explain the dark imagery of Jekyll and Hyde, in contrast with his other published books, such as Treasure Island. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde could be in a way identical to Stevenson's life as it is in a city that is split morally in two, as there is one respectable side and one not so respectable due to society's view. Stevenson lived in a city more or less the same as the one he describes in Jekyll and Hyde. Prostitution is a national scandal yet many respectable men in the eyes of the public visit brothels, this was one of the quarrels Stevenson had with his father saying that prostitutes are more truthful to themselves more than their clients who lie to themselves, and are thus hypocritical. ...read more.


As Lanyon believed in God, he was offended with the use of science by Jekyll creating life, directly questioning God as Creator. After the witness of the transformation, Lanyon fell ill due to it and died, this shows the scale of congruity between science and religion. Utterson (as I said before) is described as a respectable man in Victorian society. However Utterson has two sides, one public and one private, it could be said that Utterson is being hypocritical to himself because in his youth he experienced pleasures not necessarily 'wild' enough to blackmail and weren't respectable in Victorian society but he understood the temptations of pleasures to a man which is why he is hard to himself avoiding them in the first place. As a respectable man Utterson's reaction to Hyde was described as Satan's signature, Utterson describes him as evil due to Hyde's behaviour and lack of moral awareness expecting Hyde to know the difference between right and wrong, but ironically he doesn't. Dr. Jekyll believed 'that man is not truly one, but truly two'. He feels that man has a duality of life having two personalities, one with moral behaviour and the other nothing more than an animal. The moral personality can only reach the other if the person commits sinful action degenerating him. ...read more.


Hyde is described almost ape-like or troglodyte (cave animal dweller), this is related to Darwinism through the behaviour of man. Dr. Jekyll who did the transformation scientifically, at first had feelings of excitement but was soon replaced by the knowledge that man hasn't got enough will power to control his desires. I think Dr. Jekyll was a hypocrite due to being immoral to himself even through Hyde. He partly deserved to die due to extreme experimenting of man morally in two acting as God. Overall I think the message Stevenson was trying to show was that Victorian obsession with respectability repressed the desire for a type of 'freedom' this was against the natural nature of man. However this view is in contrast with another - that man, without some sort of moral framework to constrain behaviour would degenerate to likeness f an animal. These views are both contrasting throughout the book. The former is depicted in Jekyll transforming to Hyde escaping from society whilst the latter is shown through Hyde's appearance and behaviour. This could mean that trying to resist the first view in any other way than admittingly committing in vice then seen as immoral in society, would result in the second view. Subject: English Ibrahim Hassan-Adde (11T2) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mr. Perrot Jekyll and Hyde Page 1 ...read more.

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