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Jekyll and Hyde

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How does R.L Stevenson explore good and evil in human nature in the novel 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'? R.L Stevenson's novel, 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde', has been described by many as a parable of the struggle between good and evil, a story of mystery. The single dominant theme in this noel is that of the double, the divided nature of man and that things are not always what they appear. Although the setting for Stevenson's novel appears to be Victorian London, it is clear to see that Stevenson has Edinburgh in mind with, like Jekyll, its twin identities, the prosperous and rich 'New Town' and the 'Old Town' of poverty and desperation. The Victorian Era was a big time of change for scientists and religious followers the world over. Scientific experiments were becoming much more common, and, as with anything which involved science, religion played a big part. Stevenson taps into these changes in his novel, as Dr. Hastie Lanyon, a good friend and fellow scientist of Dr. Henry Jekyll, soon becomes both suspicious and worried about Jekyll's mysterious scientific experiments. Stevenson also taps into the fears and concerns of people living in the Victorian age; using topics such as poverty, death, murder and desperation. ...read more.


This was because there was no other way; it was accepted that God created the world in seven days and that we were all descendants of Adam and Eve. There are a couple of characters presented as good-natured who also seem to have an evil side attached to them. The first, obvious one is Dr. Henry Jekyll. The doctor is described as being 'smooth-faced', seeming to represent an almost flawless appearance, therefore an air of mystery surrounds him. Although Jekyll recognises and enjoys the evil side of his nature, he is in fact a hypocrite, as he fails to accept that it's a natural part of himself. The other, not so apparent character is Mr Utterson. Although is a respected and obviously very successful man, he is also 'cold.' He seems to have little regard within him for company and conversation. The evil side of Mr. Utterson is repressed, as is Jekyll's. The evil side of Jekyll is concealed/disguised within his appearance, represented as almost the perfect gentleman, there seems to be nothing evil about the man! However, Jekyll's evil side is thrown wide open with his transformation from the good-natured Jekyll into the ugly, immoral Mr. Hyde. This evilness links to the Victorian fears relating to the new theories- regarding evolution. ...read more.


The first instance occurs during his sleep, as this quote shows, 'clearly enough in the yellow light of a mid-London morning, lying half shut on the bed clothes, was lean, corded, knuckly, of a dusky pallor, and thickly shaded with a swart growth of hair. It was the hand of Edward Hyde.' This is Jekyll's account of the event, as he rose from his bed to discover that he had transformed into Hyde unwillingly. Jekyll soon realises that he cannot separate his good and evil sides, he eventually accepts that it's just a part of human nature. However, he still feels he has to choose between continuing life as the destructive, evil Edward Hyde or death. As he states in his confession, he eventually chooses death over evil. In my opinion, R.L Stevenson wrote this story to explore the conflict between good and evil in human nature, as well as writing an exciting mystery/horror novel. We can clearly see that he wants to explore the conflict between good and evil, as the main character is in a constant battle between both sides of his human nature. There is also a strong moral message in this story, as Jekyll eventually chooses to die, rather than continue life in the form of pure evil. The novel can be relevant to readers today as the struggle between good and evil is as strong nowadays as it always has been. ?? ?? ?? ?? Philip Mcloughlin English GCSE ...read more.

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