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"Man is not truly one, but truly two" - A discussion on how this concept is explored in the text 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'.

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Introduction

"Man is not truly one, but truly two" A discussion on how this concept is explored in the text 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' 'Man is not truly one, but truly two' outlines Robert Louis Stevenson's idea that to all there was a 'double being' and 'two sides'. Whether these two sides were ego and id, or good and evil, 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' considers the reality of splitting these two sides, which to many, including Stevenson himself, was strangely attractive. When he decided to write the novel, Stevenson was a very sick man. During a three-day attack of haemorrhaging and fever, he was confined to his bed. Even though he was quite used to being ill, he had complained of 'bad dreams' and 'nightmares of damnation'. These frequent nighttime occurrences were to be the inspiration for his new novel. As a child, at number seventeen Herriet Row in new town Edinburgh, Stevenson spent much of his time at home, the victim of many diseases. Because his mother was an invalid, and his father was often away on business as a lighthouse consultant, Robert had a full time nurse - Miss Alison Cunningham - a woman with strong Christian values. Stevenson was often so terrified of the stories Miss Cunningham told him, he was too petrified to even close his eyes for fear of going to hell. Edinburgh had two sides, which starkly contrasted each other, in the nineteenth and twentieth century. There was the new town, where, with its wide streets, squares and crescents - and its strong mid-Victorian rules, 'respectable' was the best compliment one could receive. Beyond the castle cliffs, however, lay the old town, which Stevenson looking at it once said that it was like 'watching a derelict fall down and die'. He was fed up of the Presbyterian values of the new town and fell in love with the medieval side. ...read more.

Middle

Hyde, however, loved the feeling of the overpowering evil. 'It was not till weariness had succeeded that I was suddenly, in the top fit of my delirium, struck through the heart with a cold thrill of terror,' shows how he was only able to feel the 'cold thrill of terror' when he began to get weary, and shocked me because it shows how much he was in ecstasy through the pleasures of evil. Hyde can be symbolic of 'the beast in man'. Throughout the book, Stevenson describes him, using animal imagery For instance, when Utterson confronts him after trampling on the girl towards the beginning of the book, he was described as 'hissing' like a snake with nowhere to escape, and a 'Juggernaut' which is, in my mind, a huge thing which crushes all that dare gets in its way. There is also animal imagery of Hyde when Poole, Jekyll's manservant tells Utterson that the man in the room [which the audience know is Hyde] moves 'like a monkey', and a 'thing' that cries out 'like a rat'. All these similes put together have connotations of a huge beast made up of many creatures - which is linked to Stevenson's idea that man was made up of many personalities. Stevenson also uses this book to get across his thoughts about hypocrisy. All the characters are so repelled by Hyde, but it is not exactly pinpointed what it is that is so repelling. It is these feelings of Hyde that the other characters have of him, that provokes violent and antagonistic responses from them all. Stevenson uses these characters as a symbol of man. He believes that all men and women are hypocrites - like Jekyll - because we all refuse to accept the dark side that Stevenson thinks is present in all human beings. He believed that people knew they had a bad side, but they all refuse to accept the truth, as 'the dark side' is so unpleasant. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another use of this is authentication. Authentication is making the reader feel that what they are being told is more fact than fiction. By learning about the plot through the eyes of others, the reader feels they are seeing the intimate unravelling of true feelings and events, rather than being told a story. A factor that must be taken into account is the reality that a Victorian reader would have had a highly different experience reading the book than a modern day reader. This is because as a modern reader, I already knew that Jekyll and Hyde were the same person, either through word of mouth, or television adaptations of characters to suit other situations. The effect of this is firstly, the heightened experience of suspense and excitement for the uninformed Victorian reader. Because they do not know Jekyll and Hyde are one, the tale is a true mystery to them. Secondly, it has an advantage to a reader like myself. Because I know the outcome, I can appreciate the complexity of the plot and theme, and because I am studying the novel, I can look out all the way through for 'giveaway signs'. In conclusion, I feel that as a novel, 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' is an excellent demonstration of a complex ideological theme. It explores many avenues of thought connected with contemporary psychological ideas. The thought of man being 'truly two', to me is rather chilling, and the thought of 'separation of these elements' is not at all attractive to me. I can understand Stevenson's thoughts, and appreciate the intricacy of his ideas associated with hypocrisy. I must, however say that I do not agree with him, and I have no interest in psychological ideas. I feel that the contents of one's mind should remain that of that person, whose inner thoughts are being available to anyone. I would hate the thought of others reading my mind. This is, however my opinion, and others are welcome to theirs.HH HHHe\ 2 ...read more.

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