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Jekyll And Hyde

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Introduction

Kain Lawrence 10CG Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" Evil in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is represented in many ways. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was released as a penny number, cheap magazines. In the Victorian times people were fascinated by crime/detective stories which they would link in with Jack the Ripper. The audience expected books to be filled with suspense and mystery, the triumph of good over evil; this is what the novel challenged. Even the title gave a hint of mystery "strange case". It engages with the religious, moral and scientific mood it was written in, by Stevenson referring to Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The significance of this is due to religion. In the Victorian times the 19th Century, a lot of people were Christians and therefore believed that God made the world, and that he created humans, Darwin seemed to say that human beings had evolved from earlier, simpler life forms, such as monkeys and apes. This was obviously hard to believe this as well as the Christian theory; it was quite disturbing for some people: instead of being unique we became just one species among many. Darwin's theory challenged the authority of the Old Testament. He also refers to Sigmund Freud, by using Freud's idea of the ego and the alter ego and turned one into Dr Jekyll, the other Mr Hyde. Stevenson represents evil through the appearance and character of Edward Hyde. ...read more.

Middle

Once Hyde is unleashed he slowly takes over until Jekyll dies. If a man is half angel and half fiend, someone would wonder what had happened to the "angel" at the end of the novel. The novel presents the triumph of evil over good, apposed to good over evil, and if we allow it to come into the open we are in effect allowing it to conquer. In order to oppose evil we have to understand it. Jekyll tries to do this to Hyde, to understand why he commits crimes; why he does the things that he does, for what purpose is he doing this, and again it is the same answer every time, Hyde does all these things because he can do them, because no-one stops him from doing them. Jekyll's intentions are good but their consequences are evil. In the novel, Jekyll is a respected man well known to everybody, but within him is a profound evilness released in the shape of Mr Hyde. Stevenson sends out two messages with this, beware the hidden sin and to beware of tampering with nature. His dependence on the "powders" releases Hyde. Harry Jekyll is a moral, decent, hardworking man, but he has always been leading a double life because he always aimed so high, a double life which he did not realise until he 'meddled' with science and released the evil spirit within. His fatal flaw could be this, his ambition and determination to reach his target every time. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stevenson cleverly disguises the personalities of the two main protagonists by comparing the two buildings. Stevenson is challenging religion and science by referring to evolution by creating another aspect on life, instead of the Christian belief. He does this by making the physical appearance of Hyde suit Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Stevenson often describes Hyde, as "ape-like" almost like an animal. Stevenson's message through the book, through my interpretation, is that evil is within all of us, it is a part of us, it is it is a vice which comes in different forms, anger, greed ego and so on. We can try to conceal it from other people, but eventually it comes out into the open. In other words, humans have two sides, their good side which is on display most of the time, but then they have their evil side, which is almost, like an alter ego. , In Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Stevenson created Jekyll to play the part of the good side, and Hyde to play his part of the evil side, which was let out not by an innocent man, but by a man who wanted to know more than he already did, just like the Adam and Eve story, Eve takes the risk of eating an apple off the tree of knowledge, in the same way Jekyll risks his life to know the truth about science, but in the end it was not worth it, as Jekyll soon realised what the consequences were. Stevenson also seems to warn us, by not meddling into the unknown and just letting the elements and nature be. ...read more.

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