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To What Extent Is Stevenson's Novel Critical of Science and Scientists?

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Rimsha Arif 11SM Jeddah Prep and Grammar School (SA108) IGCSE English Coursework (Literature) Assessment 2: Prose To What Extent Is Stevenson's Novel Critical of Science and Scientists? During the 19th Century, science had experienced great expansion. The theory of evolution had been discovered and published to the public, proving the idea of human evolution from apes. There was the discovery of new elements in science, therefore allowing chemical reactions. A profession as scientists had become acceptable in society and was a well-paid job. In society, there was a vast struggle taking place in the minds and lives of the Victorians between the new and exciting advance of science. However, scientific discoveries had its limits and traditional methods were usually practiced. Dr. Jekyll in Stevenson's novel explores new scientific territory and pushes forward the frontiers of knowledge, therefore tampering with things he does not fully understand, resulting to heavy consequences. Stevenson agreed to an extent the way scientists were in the 19th century. His criticism was directed against scientists who did not know how to control the discoveries they make. ...read more.


It was able to suggest a link between facial features and crime. This theory was heavily influenced by the Darwin?s theory of evolution. The theory behind this hypothesis was famously researched by Cesare Lombroso, an Italian criminal anthropologist in the 19th Century. He and his followers performed autopsies on criminals and declared that they had found similarities between the physiologies of the bodies and ?primitive humans? such as monkeys and apes. Atavism is basically a theory that by studying people?s face and features, you can tell whether they?re a criminal or not, or if they haven any criminal origins. When linking this to Stevenson?s novel, Stevenson portrays Hyde as a test subject for Atavism. In the novel, he is shown as a man with many deformities that make people think he?s evil at first sight. For example, when Utterson?s cousin Enfield first casts a look on Hyde, ?I had taken a loathing to my gentleman at first sight.? Enfield describes his features as ?something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable.? He continues saying, ?Mr. ...read more.


Since he wishes to study the mind in its most private workings, he has to use his own mind. Jekyll is prepared to risk his own life in carrying out his scientific experiment. The experiment he conjures is only for himself, for he exceeds the amount scientific knowledge he knows in order to enjoy illegal adventures in the darkness of the night. The fact that Jekyll ends up with death shows Stevenson?s criticisms on science. He?s saying that suicide is for those scientists who put society at risk and interfere in the human nature. In conclusion, Steven did criticize scientists and science but it was to a certain extent. Stevenson was able to link his novel to the new advances of science that were happening around him in the 19th century. He was able to put his opinions and views about the new science theories that were being expressed. He did not criticize the advancements in science or scientists, such as the Darwin Theory or Atavism. He did not approve of science going wrong, such as research that can be destructive to the human nature and is immoral. His criticism was mainly against scientists who made discoveries that could not be kept under control in their own hands. ...read more.

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