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

What do we learn of Victorian London and society from Stevenson’s story?

Extracts from this document...


What do we learn of Victorian London and society from Stevenson's story? In "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde", Robert Louis Stevenson describes life in London during the 1880s, the later half of the Victorian period. During that time, society was sharply divided into distinct social classes and their corresponding communities. Very few districts were truly public in the sense that people could move in and out of them with ease. Generally, people were uncomfortable and often unwelcome in parts of town that were not inhabited by their own social group. To avoid wandering into an unknown area, most Londoners stayed in their own neighbourhoods. This geographical and social fragmentation is an essential part of the setting of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Throughout the whole novel Stevenson describes the scene by telling us that it is foggy because of the huge amounts of pollution. He describes the smog as a " great chocolate coloured pall lowered over heaven". He also tells us the face of the city moon is 'fogged' and that it was windy. These are all unpleasant characteristics that make London seem more mysterious. The first thing we are told of London is of Dr Jekyll's backdoor. Dr. Jekyll lived in the low-class area of London even though he was a high class, respected gentleman with a good education and an excellent education. ...read more.


Again women are shown to be as 'wild as harpies'. As Utterson speaks to Dr. Lanyon about his meeting with Mr.Hyde, he describes London as a 'nocturnal', suggesting London is most lively at night time; when all the bad things happen at night. This shows he knew that many people were not as simple as the seem to be on the surface, but led 'double lives', at night when it was least expected. Throughout the novel Utterson is the main character that tells us of Victorian society, as he is an archetypal Victorian gentleman. We use him as a guide. When we are first given a description of Utterson at the beginning of the novel, we see that the Victorians were very strict with themselves; he "drank gin when he was alone, to mortify a taste for vintages", meaning he liked to drink fine wines but did not want to over indulge. Utterson also enjoyed the theatre but he has "never crossed the doors of one for twenty years". This also tells us that Victorians were very strict with themselves. We are also told through Utterson that Victorians were very tolerant of others and that they did not make judgements about each other: "for he was undemonstrative" Victorian gentlemen would usually associate with people like themselves and of their own kind for reputation: " His friends were those of his own ...read more.


He is described as having a "murderous mixture of timidity" suggesting he is trying to hide something terrible he has done. He is even described as a "mere radiance of a foul soul that thus transpires through, and transfigures, its clay continent?" this tells that Hyde is so evil that this makes him ugly and deformed. Utterson even tells us he is "hardy human!" again suggesting his ugliness. We are told that he lives in Soho, a low class part of London that is famous for its 'red light district'. We are told that his clothes are oversized, this shows us that he is clearly low class. As can be seen from these examples of a high-class man and a low-class man there is a complete difference in the way they dress and in their personalities. With these points I have come to a conclusion that Victorian London and society was not what it seemed to be on the surface. Good aspects like manners and strictness show that people led very normal lives, nothing that was out of the normal but below all kinds of things may happen, for example Dr. Jekyll's secret love of having two personalities. Victorian London was a city of two halves where the two societies had a very different way of life, both told of in this novel. Vin Man ...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. Compare and contrast the ways in which atmosphere is built up in the short ...

    The introduction of the characters and the resolution at the end is kept short but the overall story is very structured. 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' on the other hand requires a long and detailed reasoning and introduction section. The comprehensive introduction of characters is necessary.

  2. Duality in Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde

    This is a first hand example of the split personality coming through, the darkness showing through too early, damp, a total opposite to the respectable setting of Victorian London. Many people in Victorian times believed in the theory of physiognomy, however, Golding also makes some symbolic use of appearances.

  1. Chapter 1: Story of the Door

    The Hyde fa�ade is bleak, neglected, and lowering on a street in which it stands out among thriving, well-kept, and prosperous commercial structures. The theme of duality is also marked by the symbolic nature of the name, Hyde. Hyde derives from the more familiar word �hide,� and stands for the hidden aspects of Jekyll as encompassed by Mr.

  2. Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde

    you have respect or not, in this era reputation can be bought and sold. I think this period of time depends on money not reputation. Mr Utterson is described in contradictory ways so there can be a contrast between his appearance and personality also to be able to notify the

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