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Stevenson claimed that the inspiration of 'The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' was a 'fine bogey tale'. To what extent do you believe it to be a mere horror story?

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Introduction

Stevenson claimed that the inspiration of 'The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' was a 'fine bogey tale'. To what extent do you believe it to be a mere horror story? 'The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is not simply a horror, but incorporates various genres, thus cannot be classified under a single category. As it includes various genres, it is open to interpretation. Some see it as a mere horror, others as more of a psychological account, or a moral tale conveying a message. The novel is not a straightforward one, and contains elements of all three. To ascertain to what extent it is 'merely' a horror, we must first examine what defines a horror. One aspect of horror is the clear presence of an evil antagonist fighting the good protagonist; the main character. In the story, there is one clear antagonist: Hyde. There are two protagonists, Utterson and Jekyll. Both can also be seen as main characters; the whole novel seems to follow Utterson, yet it is also based around Jekyll as the main aspect. There is no crystal clear protagonist. Jekyll is certainly the stem of the scientific aspects of the novel, and at the time people were very superstitious about scientific discoveries. Horrors tend to be based on old superstitions, and 'The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' almost fits this category perfectly; as mentioned above, at the time people were superstitious when it came to science. The only way it differences itself from other horrors in this respect is that it is based around new superstitions, not old ones. ...read more.

Middle

Stevenson makes it absolutely clear here that they share a memory. The reason for this within the book is simple; if Jekyll did not know of Hyde and his actions, the sense of guilt and despair, leading to self-destruction, there would be no real story and much less drama. In the line '...Henry Jekyll, with streaming tears of gratitude and remorse, had fallen upon his knees and lifted his clasped hands to God.' We can see clearly here that there is evidence of guilt. This is after Hyde has committed an atrocity; if Jekyll were unaware, the whole (melo)drama would be lost. The word 'remorse' shows how he is sad for, and regrets, the actions of Hyde which are, at least in part, his own fault. This despair is emphasised after he 'falls upon his knees'. This shows his desperation and heightened emotions, which would not be evident without the mutual memory. It also goes back to the beliefs of the time and religion as he 'lifted his clasped hands to God.' This re-iterates and emphasises his despair at the actions of Hyde and also goes back to the supernatural; Hyde is seen as the force of evil, Jekyll the force of good. A similarity between the case of Dr Jekyll and Dissociative Identity Disorder is the fact that the 'alters' have different voices. This helps in the novel to distinguish between the two when Jekyll locks himself in his laboratory demanding high-quality ingredients. He also changes physically, however. Within the book, this helps to create the mystery for the reader and Utterson; If Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde were visibly identical, there would be no sense of confusion ...read more.

Conclusion

Although these are not solid grounds to dismiss it as a moral tale, I only wish to point out that the signs lead to horror or psychological. In conclusion, I believe that 'The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is mainly a horror story, but not a 'mere' horror story. This is because of it was written to explore the dual nature of man. This means in a sense that it was designed to be a psychological novel. The content is typical of both horror and psychological books, though also contains elements of moral fable. The horror element is strong, although I wouldn't describe it as merely a horror. I will say that it is much more a horror and a psychological novel than it is a moral tale, however. It could be interpreted as a mere horror if the psychological elements were overlooked, as it certainly has many underlying themes that make a horror. It could equally be interpreted as a psychological account, as it was written around the time when people were beginning to grasp psychology, and Stevenson did write it to illustrate the dual personality of man. The only way it could be interpreted as a moral fable in my opinion would be if one read it after the publishers had deemed it one, and noticed the elements of a moral tale and almost ignoring the others. 'The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is a mix of all three. It is predominantly horror, with heavy psychological implications, which does contain a few elements of a moral fable. It cannot be classified under a single category, as it crosses the boundaries, and contains various interlinking themes. Harry Dayantis 10L Pre-1914 Prose Page 1 ...read more.

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