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Man is not truly two, but truly one

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Introduction

Heather Romine D. Rae Greiner English R1A 18 April 2006 Man is not truly two, but truly one Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde explores the duality of human nature. Jekyll believes he can extract his evil side as Hyde to destroy this part of himself; however, he realizes that he enjoys his secret life pursuing illicit pleasures. At first it appears that the primary struggle lies between the well-respected Dr. Jekyll and the evil Mr. Hyde, but what is actually more threatening is the fact that the binary does not hold. The evil cannot be isolated and contained, thus it is impossible to separate and kill off. Jekyll is not completely good and Hyde is not purely evil. Some evil must have existed in Dr. Jekyll in the beginning for him to transform into Mr. Hyde. Hyde is not completely evil because he is somewhat "natural and human" (Stevenson 58). By combining good and evil in both characters, Stevenson reveals the complexities of human nature rather than the strict "divided self" that Jekyll believes he is creating. The flaw that leads to Jekyll's downfall is his thinking in binary terms when he says, "man is not truly one, but truly two" (55). ...read more.

Middle

One who is timid and bold is unpredictable: at one moment they may hide their evil plots, whereas at other times they act on their devastating impulses. Humans are multifaceted because their actions are not always rational or foreseeable. Jekyll's unreliable science and Hyde's "murderous mixture" cast doubt on the claim that Hyde is completely devilish. Just as Hyde and Jekyll both contain good and evil within, their shared home represents two sides of one character. Dr. Jekyll enters the front of the house with a great fa�ade and elegant interior, whereas Mr. Hyde enters through the back laboratory door with a dilapidated structure. Hyde's door "was well equipped with neither bell nor knocker, was blistered and distained" (6). The doors strike an incongruous note and contrast with the rest of the houses on this pleasant and wealthy street. The back door lacks a bell and knocker which is unwelcoming to visitors. Stevenson personifies the door as "blistered" indicating an element of pain that occurs due to the transformation that occurs within this lab. Ironically, when Utterson and the detective go inside Hyde's house, they find it "furnished with luxury and good taste" (26). ...read more.

Conclusion

Since only one character can exist at a particular time, they are never completely separated. The fact that Hyde takes over Jekyll's body right after Jekyll drinks the vial of poison shows that the conflict persists until the last minute of this character's life. The Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde illustrates the existence of multiplicities found in every individual and the need to recognize but minimize the grasp of evil. Seemingly opposing qualities such as good versus evil, civilized versus primitive, and repression versus liberation can all be found competing within a single character. Even though Jekyll calls Hyde "pure evil," there is evidence contradicting this belief; Jekyll is not strictly good and Hyde is not wholly evil. Jekyll's belief in humans as two separate beings that can be divided lead to his death. They cannot concurrently exist because they are ultimately one individual. Jekyll's dualistic thinking that leads to splitting his personality is problematic because all humans, including Hyde, are composed of multiple qualities. It is impossible to obtain a pure compound by human means such as through science due to the competing forces within every person. Jekyll's lack of acceptance of his complex nature and attempt to split his identity ultimately led to his death because man is not two, but truly one. ...read more.

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