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Stevenson's Portrayal of Good and Evil and the Nature of Mankind.

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Introduction

Stevenson's Portrayal of Good and Evil and the Nature of Mankind Throughout Robert Louis Stevenson's popular novel, 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' there is numerous examples of how characters represent the nature of mankind and how Stevenson portrays good and evil. In 1879, seven years before the book was released, psychology was considered a science for the first time. This is what would have encouraged Stevenson to write a book based on the subject, as many people would be intrigued by it. He uses these three concepts to help readers relate to the story and therefore feel drawn into the twisted lives of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. To arouse strong feelings of suspense and curiosity, the atmosphere Stevenson creates is extremely important to help the reader feel as if they were a character in the novel. Stevenson wishes that the reader to feel Mr Utterson's uneasiness by showing the first half of the book though Utterson's views alone. 'Mr Uttersons nerves gave him a jerk that nearly threw him from his balance' is an example of when the reader feels the same shock as Utterson. Stevenson chose Utterson because the character of Utterson is good so the reader can compare good (Mr Utterson) and Bad (Hyde). Mr Utterson is kept in the dark on the whole secret of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde so the reader is also not told about mans duality until the last two chapters. ...read more.

Middle

Jekyll did not accept he must act as expected to be respected. He wanted excitement in his life but he also wanted the comforts of an honourable gentleman such as himself. This is the reason he wanted to get rid of evil. Jekyll believed in the newly found science of psychology, his views were more modern than Lanyon's. Jekyll went further than just believing in the science of the mind though. He knew that man had a good and evil side. Because Stevenson had both views on the subject the reader can feel he has information on the subject that isn't biased. Jekyll believes that man is hypercritical due to the fact that man is not one but truly two. He believes man is naturally good but also has an evil side that creates feelings of greed. Usually the good side of a person is in control however though good is the larger part of man, evil is much stronger. Once evil is released it grows creating a person that's pure evil such as Hyde. This is why once evil is released it begins to take over. Hyde started small but he grew, in body and mind, each time he was released. Every time Hyde was released he grew stronger and good became weaker. Stevenson portrays evil to be fun and therefor it is also tempting. ...read more.

Conclusion

It describes evil, it describes Hyde. Stevenson portrays evil to be like this because it in mankind's nature to feel a certain way with unusual situations. Hyde is so evil that he goes beyond what one would usually associate with evil, he can't even be looked at without the 'visible misgiving of the flesh'. Jekyll is a representation of mankind's nature as there is a Bad part of man who in Jekyll, is Hyde. Jekyll feels ashamed of this part, hence the reason he wanted to conceal this from the public and especially his friends Utterson and Lanyon. Jekyll didn't want to talk about Hyde to Mr Utterson when the will was mentioned. There is also a good side to man, which is the side Dr Lanyon and Mr Utterson first know Jekyll to be the kind thoughtful doctor. Finally there is Jekyll alone, not pure good or evil, just a confused worried man. Hyde knows Jekylls vulnerable and uses it as an opportunity to take control of Jekyll's mind for the last time. Once Hyde had taken over Jekyll's mind Jekyll could no longer keep going, Jekyll regret what he had done and died feeling filled with guilt and shame. If he knew what would happen would he have still gone ahead? Is mankind's curiosity too strong? Does that make curiosity evil? So many questions are left unanswered but I have learnt from Jekyll's experiences it is probably best leave to it this way. ...read more.

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