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Introduction

Show why "The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" caused such a sensation when it was first published. "The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" was first published in1886, which was in the Victorian era. Dr Jekyll was a scientist who went too far in his experiments. He found a formula for a potion, which when drunk could separate his dual persona into good and pure evil. The formula not only affected him mentally but physically also. The evil side went by the name Edward Hyde, and he did terrible things, he trampled a little girl and even murdered someone by the name of Sir Danvers Carew. There was no apparent reason for Hyde to murder him; Mr Carew simply appeared to ask for directions then Hyde beat him to death with a rather posh cane. Jekyll could no longer become Hyde, as he was wanted for murder, so he didn't take the potion any more. Then problems started to arise; Jekyll "had gone to bed Henry Jekyll and had awakened Edward Hyde." Jekyll soon ran out of potion, as he had to use some of it every time he unwillingly became Hyde, until eventually he could no longer become Jekyll again. Eventually Utterson (Jekyll's lawyer, and close friend) and a servant of Jekyll's started breaking the door down for the room in which Hyde was, this was done because they thought that Hyde had done away with Jekyll. Hyde knew if he was caught then he would be hung and so he took cyanide to end it. "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" caused such a sensation for many reasons. The church did not like the idea of Mr Hyde being a stage backwards in evolution. Charles Darwin had recently brought a book out stating his theory of evolution and it appeared that Stevenson agreed to what Darwin said judging from what is in the novella. ...read more.

Middle

Hyde showed no remorse after the incident and grudgingly gave the �100 compensation over to the girl's family. This is the first account we, as the reader, hear about Hyde, which instantly does not give us a very good impression of him! Mr Enfield, Utterson's "distant kinsman" was the one who told the tale of the door, and ant the same time triggered off something in Utterson's head, which makes him determined to meet Mr Hyde. There are many reasons why Utterson got interested, there was the strange will, there is the cheque with Jekyll's signature (this occurred when Mr Hyde went to get the �100 for trampling the little girl), but the main factor I feel stimulated the obsessiveness of Utterson, was the fact that he knew that the door Hyde went in, was in fact the back door to Jekyll's house. This intrigued Utterson, he must have thought, why did Jekyll sign the cheque for that evil Hyde character, why is he allowing him to stay in his house and why on earth did Jekyll put the clause in the will. After pondering about this for a while, Utterson probably came to the conclusion that Hyde knew a deep dark secret of Jekyll's and he was blackmailing him with it. The other key action Hyde did, was the murder of Sir Danvers Carew. The brutal attack was not premeditated; Carew simply seemed to ask for directions, but in "a great flame of anger" Hyde beat Sir Danvers Carew to death using a cane "with ape like fury." Stevenson describes a very eerie, horror like setting for the scene. It was early morning, foggy, with no one about, except for two gentlemen who advanced towards each other, there was also a maid who lay awake looking out her window. You could guess that some kind of crime would take place, but as the murder is taking place, the descriptions Stevenson uses makes you feel like you are there and can almost hear the bones as they were "audibly shattered" as Hyde trampled Carews body under foot. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the story Hyde tramples a child, and knocks over a woman. This could have been in Stevenson's mind of what he would have liked to do but (luckily) he was too much of a gentleman to do so. From this you may get the picture that in fact most of the story was based around Stevenson's thoughts and feelings. In 1886 "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" was first published, and it caused an incredible sensation. There were as I have already mentioned a variety of different reasons for this. The novella was different to everything else around at the time and so the readers would not have been expecting what is in the book. One of the factors which made it different was that it had, horror, sci-fi, and detective qualities all packed into one. This contrast makes the story intriguing and makes you not want to put the book down. At the time "The strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" was first published, Charles Darwin had already brought out his theory of evolution and from the churches point of view, Stevenson was agreeing with him from the aspect of Jekyll going back in the evolution process to become Hyde. With the church saying it is disgraceful (the book), it would get more people wanting to read the book and see what all the fuss is about. Robert Louis Stevenson obviously knew how to make a good book. He dealt with issues which crop up in every day life, and many films have been made either about or including Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" is just one example. The reason films are made with them in, is because people like the idea behind the story, that it is somehow possible to change your appearance and do evil things. These are the reasons why "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" will always be a relevant text in today's life, and in the future. Peter Lipton English Coursework 1 ...read more.

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