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Show How Stevenson Through Themes, Language and Setting Creates a World of Double Standards and Hypocrisy.

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Introduction

Show how Stevenson through themes, language and setting creates a world of double standards and hypocrisy. With titles such as 'Treasure Island' and 'The Black Arrow', one expects to suffer complete infatuation when they pick up a book marked Robert Louis Stevenson. The Scottish author/poet published the world renowned novella 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' in 1886. The story tells of a scientist (Dr Jekyll), living within the respectable society of Victorian England, and his quest to prove to himself that he can master two opposing personalities without fault. It is told from the view point of John Utterson, lawyer and friend to the respected and brilliant scientist. From the unwanted arrival of the menacing character Mr Hyde comes a brutal crime followed by a barbaric murder. Suspicions begin to flare and before long Mr Utterson reluctantly discovers a horrific and terrifying story. Dr Jekyll's theory that within every man lies a good and evil persona has lead to him create and consume a potion that changes him into an embodiment of his evil side; Dr Jekyll is in fact the sinister and menacing murderer Mr Hyde. This captivating story is perhaps the most famous in its gothic genre, selling forty five thousand copies within its first few months. Even now the term 'Jekyll and Hyde' is used to portray someone with a dual personality, someone who lives a double life of respectable decency and unforgivable sin. At the time it was written Victorian life was governed by strict etiquette and repressed sexuality, Stevenson could not have written a book more controversial to the times. The very existence of the book was a sign of duality and double standards. It is rumoured that Stevenson's wife burnt the first manuscript as she feared that the tale was too controversial, that the reserved citizens of Victorian England would take to it with an uproar far less than positive. ...read more.

Middle

With this on-going fa�ade of respectable and gentlemanly stature, every irrational act that occurs within the eighty-eight pages of this celebrated novel is also an act of hypocrisy and of double standards. And irrationality does occur. The trampling of the girl in chapter one shows hypocrisy on Jekyll's part; that hidden deep within him, underneath his courteous exterior is the urge to engage in reckless and uncivilized deeds. The murder of Sir Danvers Carew is similar in the way in portrays hypocrisy, and after this second act of maliciousness the reader is intrigued to look further into the irrationality of these acts. It appears that these brutal attacks are done for nothing more than joy. We get the impression from his assault upon innocents that Hyde seems to enjoy doing wrong, we see it is not just a case of Hyde being free from law, civilization and conscience but instead a case of Hyde going out of his way to commit violent crimes, just because he can. We get the impression that Hyde is immoral rather than amoral. Another side of irrationality is 'The Beast in Man'. Again no-one portrays this better than Hyde. Stevenson wants the reader to think of a creature when they envision Hyde and he uses many descriptive devices to obtain this effect. Hyde is described as trampling over Sir Danvers Carew 'with ape like fury', in the third chapter and when Jekyll is describing his spontaneous transformation into Hyde he describes his 'fiend'ish counterpart as 'the animal within me' in addition a general description of Hyde portrays his hand as 'corded and hairy'. These examples of symbolic imagery help paint a picture for the reader by helping to depict the appearance of Hyde. Fitting in with the duality of man, Stevenson wanted to make sure that Jekyll and Hyde's appearance were seen as completely different, therefore it is necessary for the constant references to Hyde's appearance as animalistic as no character within in the entire book can give a ...read more.

Conclusion

During Victorian times outward appearance was very important amongst society, it was necessary that everyone's appearance was very respectable, so that people would receive the right impression of them. Hyde is quite the opposite; he doesn't care about how he looks or how he is seen. The way the laboratory stands out because of it dingy manifestation shows how Hyde is different and the odd one out in society. The duplicity of Victorian society is also shown, by the quote 'Though so profound a double-dealer.' This assertion by Jekyll in the final chapter of the book shows Jekyll's motives for the extended research into the duality in man and the eventual potion making. It explains that his initial hypothesis was based on himself as he in public and in private behaved as though he were two people. The alliteration in this quote also helps to portray the theme of double as the very word is in the phrasing and the alliteration is on two words. Another way in which Stevenson uses literary techniques to portray his main theme is in varied sentences. Stevenson uses a lot of short sentences to create tension and to change the pace that the story is being read at. He uses sentences such as 'and his blood ran cold in his veins' and 'they're all afraid' this helps builds tension and prepares the reader for climax's within the story. Robert Louis Stevenson was a man with a definite flare for writing. He has managed to portray the theme of hypocrisy and double standards to his readers in a clever way and with a unique style. This theme could have been shown simply and entirely by the two main characters: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, but Stevenson goes further with his work, he shows duality in every possible way he can, oxymorons, contrasting descriptions. The world of double standards is apparent from the very start of this eloquent novella. It is the passion and depth that you can so clearly see in his words that make 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' a novella loved by all ages. ...read more.

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