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jekyll and hyde essay

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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde In this essay I will be looking at how Robert Louis Stevenson was able to show both good and evil in the human nature through his detailed descriptions and complex characters in his novel; The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh. He was the only son of Thomas Stevenson, a wealthy engineer who designed Lighthouses, and Margaret Balfour, daughter of a Scottish clergyman. Since his childhood Stevenson suffered from tuberculosis causing him to spend much of his time in bed, making up stories before he had even learned to read. Throughout his childhood Stevenson was mainly raised by his nanny, Alison Cunningham. Alison had strong Calvinist beliefs so praying became a big part of Stevenson's early life. Calvinist's thought that sin and evil were deeply rooted in the human soul. They also believed the devil could reappear in human form. This idea is clearly seen in the character Of Hyde, showing how Stevenson was largely influenced by not only his own thoughts but the beliefs that were brought upon him when he was young. In the late 19th Century Stevenson wrote one of his now most famous and well known books, 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' The book today is very unlikely to shock the now modern ...read more.


Theses are things that we would have expected to see in Dr Jekyll's house and leaves us as the reader slightly confused. Stevenson also uses the weather to reveal the evil in the surroundings and separate each of their characters. For example wind is used to make the environment seem like it is full of danger and threat. Also some scenes are described as foggy, which creates a sense of creepiness and unknown. An example of the weather is used when Poole and Utterson are getting ready to break into Jekyll's laboratory. ''The wind caused the clouds to cover the moon'', this sentence creates a dark and evil atmosphere. Just by reading the contrasting descriptions Stevenson uses for both the settings and these two characters, we can already see the huge difference in each of the character's personality's without the need to read the entire novel. The character of Hyde seems to show the pure evil side of human nature, whereas Jekyll seems to show the good side. However I don't think Jekyll is of totally pure good nature, I feel instead he is meant to represent the control that someone has over their bad side. Dr. Jekyll therefore represents the idea of repression in a highly regarded person. ...read more.


In this final act, neither of them is innocent. Obviously, Hyde is guilty of a great many crimes, and Jekyll is also guilty as he created Hyde and let him run free. Possibly in this conclusion, Stevenson is suggesting that to those who commit pointless violence, punishment will eventually come. In the Victorian age people were interested in Darwin's theory of evolution and Stevenson took advantage of this. Not all classes were educated, so Stevenson had to aim for the higher-class people. Jekyll would be the same class as the readers, whereas Hyde would be unknown to such people because he was associated with the lower classes. Stevenson was influenced by Darwinism in the novel to involve Victorian Society. When he released "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde", Charles Darwin had just revealed his theory of man evolving from apes. When the Victorians read this book, Hyde was referred to as evidence of Darwin's theory by the use of phrases such as: "With ape-like fury" and "Like a monkey, jumped", which gives us the image of ape-like qualities. Stevenson's main message appears to be that the attraction of darkness and evil exists in the mind of every person, and all that separates good people from evil people is one's ability to control indulgence. Although we all have evil within us, Stevenson suggests it is best to keep our "Hyde's" under lock and key, rather than let them roam freely. ...read more.

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