• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Representation of evil in Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

Extracts from this document...


The Representation of evil in Robert Louis Stevenson's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" In 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson published his short novel "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". A recurring theme in the novella is that of evil, a popular subject in Victorian literature as it is such an interesting concept to interpret. The story was set in London, a city put across in the novella as being a dark, intimidating place (as most of the scenes were set in the night-time), and where otherwise respectable men and women indulged in "evil" activities such as gambling, sex, violence and drugs. Stevenson makes many references to the id and ego, which Sigmund Freud wrote about earlier in the 20th century. Freud believed that the id and ego were in constant battle with one another, the id being the unfettered self, and the ego a personality you project on society. The id very much represents the "evil" side of man in Stevenson's novella, and this is shown when the respectable Dr. Jekyll takes the potion to release Hyde, his animalistic id. ...read more.


What comes across to the crowd and audience as an evil action because no flicker of remorse is shown, is actually not intended. The first time we hear about him is when we are told of a madman knocking down a small child and walking straight over her. 'It sounds like nothing to hear, but it was hellish to see. It wasn't like a man; it was like some damned Juggernaut.' The phrase "juggernaut" suggests Mr. Hyde is amoral, not evil. Hyde isn't bothered about who or what he hurts; he doesn't have a conscience to speak of. He never feels guilty of his actions. As he gets more out of control, he acts more like an animal, and quite insanely. "And next moment, with ape-like fury, he was trampling his victim under foot." When Jekyll tries to control his evil side, after a while, it doesn't work because, as stated before, when the "evil" is suppressed it comes back more powerful than before. Jekyll starts to change into Hyde without taking the potion. Hyde is gradually taking over and Jekyll is becoming more evil. ...read more.


Back then, these 'deformed' people would have been shut away and often the public thought that only a deformed or evil soul could cause such deformities on the outside. These real, sadly common reactions from the late 1800s probably had a huge influence on the attitudes that Stevenson's characters had towards Hyde in the book. The book seems to associate evil with animal quite frequently. This can be seen in the way the book describes how Hyde acts, but also in the way he speaks, often using the term "hissed" and "croaked". In many religions, certain animals are associated with evil, like in the bible, where a snake was personified as Satan. This can be linked to the then recently published theory of evolution, which shocked many people. Darwin's theory stated that animals evolved, rather than being created by god, which contradicted the heavily Christian Victorians beliefs. It seems ironic that Darwin was a man of the church, trying to prove religion right. It seems to me that Robert Louis Stevenson, while writing this novella, set out to make the repressed Victorian society think about its morals and beliefs, and, like many great writers, to challenge the public to think in a new way about themselves and the society they live in. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson essays

  1. Chapter 1: Story of the Door

    Another interesting aspect involved is Jekyll�s statement, "I can be rid of Mr. Hyde at any point." While this may be true, it is an issue of control versus the lack of control. This debate is encountered throughout the novel and is central to the issues involved within the book

  2. Examine the Representation of Good and Evil, and the dual nature of humans, in ...

    He hides things that may besmirch his reputation, and is a very different person when he is with Lanyon to who he is when he is with Jekyll. Utterson symbolises Victorian Society, a world of hypocrisy and high expectations, all revolving around moral and reputation.

  1. 'How does the Author, Robert Louis Stevenson, present Victorian attitudes to the nature of ...

    There is an allegorical side to the story of the lone scientist surrounded with chemicals all in aid to try and overcome the limits of human nature. Jekyll then gets continually more excited of the taste of another life. He will accept the risk of death in order to become different.

  2. Throughout the novel Hyde has a powerful effect on all who encounter him. Choose ...

    and acting "...like a madman...". All these similes in indicate that Hyde has some kind of mental deformity as well as a physical malformation. Satan or the devil is supposed to be the root or cause of all the problems and evil; once again by comparing Hyde to Satan Robert Louis Stevenson is once more comparing him to evil.

  1. How Does Robert Louis Stevenson use

    When Utterson witnesses the transformation of Jekyll to Hyde, the undeniable proof of something he had always believed was impossible, is too much for him to bear. He is so devastated and distraught that he loses the will to live.

  2. The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is and ...

    The fact that he is de-limited by hateful faces contributes to the chapter's general aim, which is evidently focused on establishing a negative status for Mr Hyde, to be deployed and extended further into the text at a later stage.

  1. An examination of the representation of evil in Stevenson's

    Most of the changes from Dr Jekyll into Mr Hyde take place in the laboratory. This is an odd setting to use, as it is a symbol of what could be the origin of evil.

  2. What picture of Hyde does Robert Louis Stevenson create in the readers mind?

    Hyde was pure evil. He trampled over the girl as though he actually wanted to hurt her. The Victorians might have thought that being described as a Juggernaut meant that Mr. Hyde was a Hindu god of destruction. The Victorians could also have thought that Mr.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work