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Jekyll and Hyde, Evil

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Introduction

Analyse the representation of good and evil in Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novella written, and set, in Victorian London, during a unique era containing its own brand of hypocrisy and breeding a plethora of double-lives. The author, Robert Louis Stevenson, was no stranger to the double way of life himself. Therefore it is of no surprise that the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde's main theme is good versus evil. Stevenson doesn't only show evil through Mr. Hyde, but also, to an extent, through Jekyll as he is just as much to blame for his double life as Hyde. Dr. Jekyll's motivation to create his doppelganger way of life is not explored until the final chapter where Jekyll concedes that he is not as good a Victorian gentleman as he first seems, as the Victorian ideal was contradictory and impossible to conform to. This is why he began experimenting with drugs, so he could separate the sides of his personality and create a different body so he could conduct the misdeeds he so greatly desires without detection. "If each could be but housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable". Jekyll finally succeeded in concocting a drug that separated good and evil, and thus Hyde was born. Stevenson uses Hyde to explore the concept of good and evil in many ways including their physical appearance. ...read more.

Middle

Everyday objects frequently take on a more sinister and primitive function around Hyde, which is another representation of his evil. For example, Jekyll's cane, a gentlemanly gift from Mr. Utterson, was used as a stick for beating Sir Danvers Carew to death. This example is a shadowy implication of Hyde's sinister ability to twist and manipulate objects around; just as he himself is twisted and malformed. The twisted, malformed version of Jekyll, is Hyde, just as the malformed and twisted version of Jekyll's elegant cane is later found lying damaged and broken (much like how Hyde is found at the end of the novella). Another example of symbolism is Jekyll's house itself. It is in two halves, similar to an existing famous surgeon, John Hunter's house from the century before. It is in fact almost an exact replica of John Hunter's house, with the door by which Hunter would have used ordinarily in his normal doctor's fa�ade, just as Jekyll does in the novella, would have been the wide, welcoming, grand front door. However, just like Jekyll, Hunter had another side to him. By the back door Hunter would acquire bodies from grave robbers, and bring them to the dissecting-room for him and his students to use. Incidentally, the door by which Hyde always enters Jekyll's house is called the "dissecting-room door". It is also described as "blistered and distained" and it "bore every mark of prolonged and sordid negligence." The door itself, therefore, represents the evil of Hyde in many ways. ...read more.

Conclusion

Phrenology was the science of studying the various bumps and imperfections on one's head and body as in the Victorian era, ugly equalled evil. Victorian readers would have read the vague descriptions of Hyde and know instantaneously he was evil, yet interestingly when Hyde looked at himself in the mirror still, to some extent, thinking as Jekyll's mind would (which was of course, gentlemanly) Hyde "seemed natural and human". He feels this and still comes to know that Hyde "alone, amongst the ranks of mankind, is pure evil". Jekyll must feel a natural triumph at his accomplishment, being the first man to separate good and evil, although he only unleashed the evil side of his humanity. In conclusion, the concept of good and evil in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are represented in a variety of different ways, such as Hyde's looks, the way Jekyll tries to repent his deeds as Hyde, the bitter ending of neither personality having dominion over the other. Because the central theme of the book is good and evil, the duplicity of life and Victorian hypocrisy (similar to The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde) it is expected that there are two sides to the book. However, it seems more like a Venn diagram with aspects of good and evil in both sides, with no clear line dividing the two. In this case, it is clear that Stevenson is saying in this novella that you cannot be just one thing, one part of you, but everything that you are. ?? ?? ?? ?? Stephanie Wicken 10Cy3 ...read more.

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