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What does Robert Louis Stevenson have to say about good and evil in the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? What is the moral of the story?

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Introduction

What does Robert Louis Stevenson have to say about good and evil in the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? What is the moral of the story? T he entire story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is based on the moral and thoughts of good and evil. Throughout the book there are quotations which describe these two separations. One in particular quote states that "Man is not truly one but truly two" - p85. This quote is a metaphor, which refers to the two alter egos present in all humans, one being good and one being evil. It also means that people live double lives: that they can do anything they want in private without public consequences. Robert Louis Stevenson explains how the separation of these two sides could be made possible by using drugs and potions. Dr. Jekyll created this stimulant but it contained an unknown impurity, which meant that it could not be made again and that he could not re-transform. ...read more.

Middle

Parts of this description are repeated in the novella (a short novel) and act as a pathetic fallacy, relating Mr. Hyde with the weather and state of London. The description of the street in the first chapter reinforces the theme of duality. The street is described as merely an anonymous street in London, whose shop fronts "like rows of smiling saleswomen" - p30 have a brightness that stands out in contrast to the grim neighbourhood. And yet on this street, two doors from the corner, stands a dreary, gothic house, which "bore in every feature the marks of prolonged and sordid negligence" - p30. Dr. Jekyll's house itself has a natural duality: pleasant, prosperous, respectable, as well as threatening, mysterious, and disturbing. This duality is marked by each of its two disguises: the respectable, Jekyll side of the house stands out in complete contrast with the dullness of the Hyde side of the house. The theme of duality is also noticeable by the nature of the name, Hyde. ...read more.

Conclusion

Robert Louis Stevenson writes about the harmful effects of improperly interfering with God's creation. The ideal belief is that one should accept the gifts, abilities, and freedoms of choice God gives to all human beings and not attempt to transform oneself. However, the negative desires and urgings can overtake our original selves until we lose touch of who we are. Dr. Jekyll's desire to temporarily alter his existence results ultimately in his deadly downfall. The last moral of the book is shown and displayed on nearly every page. This moral believes that children are innocent and relates to the issue of not taking drugs. The statement, "the evil side of my nature was less robust and less developed when I was young" - p84 means that the evil Mr. Hyde became noticeable after Dr. Jekyll's childhood. So Mr. Hyde would always have been younger than Dr. Jekyll when the evil was committed and therefore was constantly found to be innocent. In conclusion, Robert Louis Stevenson uses religion, science, ethics and location to produce an excellent novel, to which many morals are assigned. These morals include good and evil, innocent and young, self-restraint and double existence. Jack Layden 05/05/2007 1 ...read more.

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