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Jekyll and Hyde

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Jekyll and Hyde In many ways, Stevenson's novel explores the darker side of human nature. Explore Stevenson's portrayal of the nature of 'good' and 'evil' and the dual nature of man's personality in the novel. Stevenson's novel, Jekyll and Hyde, was published in 1886. This was a time of change in England. The country was split into two, the lower class and upper class; this novel reflects the duality of England in this period of time. In the Victorian period, normal Victorian people would go about their everyday lives, but at night, the hidden secrets would emerge, including prostitution, crime, gambling, alcoholism and drugs. These times had lots of poverty; women had no rights and child labour existed. Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was introduced, which shocked many as it challenged the Christian views with science, which explained that humans had evolved from apes, rather than being created by God. Society was terrified. The novel Jekyll and Hyde reflects the good and evil of the time, and the duality of man as the character Dr Jekyll has two parts, one as the respectable doctor, Dr Jekyll, and one as the feared criminal, Mr Hyde. In this essay, I will explore the dark side of human nature, the portrayal of good and evil through characters and events. Furthermore, we can explain that nature takes on qualities of both good and evil and Stevenson's physical descriptions of characters and how he links them to other areas in the novel. ...read more.


It represents the duality of man because the stick splits into two halves, where the wood was once combined as one. '...One splintered half had rolled into a neighbouring gutter, the other, without doubt had been carried away...' this makes us understand that Mr Hyde is the half which rolled into the gutter as he is a lower person than Dr Jekyll, and people who are low are sometimes described as being 'in the gutter', whereas the other half is Dr Jekyll. The event mirrors the concept of the dual nature of man. Nature plays a role in the novel too. Stevenson uses nature to emphasise what is taking place. 'It was by this time about nine in the morning and the first fog of the season. A great chocolate pall lowered over heaven...' This description gives strong imagery to the reader; we can imagine a dark and murky landscape. It can also link back to the idea of the door from the beginning of the novel; the fog can also be seen as a type of barrier or shield to hide the mysteries of the unknown. A 'pall' is a type of cover, which is used to cover coffins; this suggests more death and evil may follow in the future, maybe with some of the main characters in the novel. Stevenson goes on to describe the town of Soho, 'a dingy street, a gin palace, a low French eating house, a shop for the retail of penny numbers and two-penny salads...' ...read more.


Dr Jekyll enjoyed the dark side of the Victorian lifestyle, and this was the only way he could go about his business without tarnishing his good reputation. His last letter exposes the truth behind the strange happenings, and pieces the novel together, letting the reader fully understand the twists and turns. Stevenson's novel, Jekyll and Hyde is written to reflect society at that period, and to explain his way of life fighting his medical condition through a range of drugs. It shows that the Victorian lifestyle was clearly split into two. The characters, Jekyll and Hyde show this duality of man, and the symbols such as the door. Dr Jekyll shows the good side, a warm, good hearted man who is a respected doctor in a high class, whereas Mr Hyde shows the dark evil side of man, he is evil, low class, unsafe and impure. Stevenson showed the difference between the two by using night and day, night being evil, and day being good. Nature played a dramatic role in symbolising this, and was shown in many different ways. Stevenson explores the dark side of human nature, in such a method that the story can sometimes shock the reader. The novel raises many questions, for example, is man really dual? Can the human race really have two sides, each being so drastically different? Stevenson brought the dark secrets of the time together into a book, with a powerful meaning. ...read more.

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