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What have you learnt about the darker side of human nature from 'Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde,' and how does Stevenson create a feeling of evil?

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Introduction

What have you learnt about the darker side of human nature from 'Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde,' and how does Stevenson create a feeling of evil? 'Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde' is famous novel written in 1886. Stevenson became fascinated with the lowlife of Edinburgh when he attended university there, and the novel deals with the idea that 'evil is potentially more powerful than good.' As a young boy, Stevenson suffered from ill health and spent most of his early years in his bedroom where Alison Cunningham would labour to teach him the difference between the pursuit of life of good or evil, the latter course leading inevitably to the everlasting torments of hell. She made sure that Stevenson was not spared details of these torments, causing him to suffer terrifying nightmares which he often recalled in his memories and which afflicted him throughout his life. She would try and convince him, 'there are but two camps in the world- one of the mundane and vicious..The other on the high road to the gallows and the bottomless pit.' It was from one of his adult nightmares that 'Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde' grew a story that would argue there is a light and dark side in all mankind, in the words of Jekyll, 'man is not truly one, but truly two.' Jekyll had a strong fascination with a dual personality of a man. Jekyll is a well respected Physician and Chemist who is 'well made, smooth faced man of fifty with something of a stylish cast, perhaps but every mark of capacity and kindness.' This illustrated that even the most well respected man is captured by the temptation of evil, and tampers with this. ...read more.

Middle

This quote clearly highlights the fact that despite the risk, Jekyll felt drawn to evil even though he was aware that there may be consequences, showing the power of temptation that the evil had on the good inside Jekyll. Jekyll here clearly tampers with nature, which first brings a feeling of liberation and freedom to him, yet soon there become consequences. Jekyll however feels the power of controlling evil as he is aware that he can do as his wishes with no-one recognising him, 'Enough, then, that I not only recognised my natural body for the mere aura and effulgence of certain of the powers that made up my spirit.' Because of the way in which the characters reacted when confronted by Hyde, Jekyll gains a compelling feeling of power as he realises that there is no-one else like Hyde. This clearly shows a motive in which Jekyll continues to tamper with the unknown, and Jekyll is also aware of why people shrink instantly away from Hyde. Jekyll feels people form such a loathe for Hyde because everyone in mankind is 'truly two' being half good, and half evil, so therefore it takes time to know these two sides before judgement. However Hyde is unique in that he is pure evil, so people can immediately judge him, 'this, as I take it, was because all human beings, as we meet them are commingled of good and evil, and Edward Hyde alone, in the ranks of mankind, was pure evil.' This gives a clear impression to the reader that evil can be judged quickly and people are often able to instantly recognise it, hence why they all find Hyde 'downright detestable.' ...read more.

Conclusion

This provided the stem to which he thought up the setting of where evil lurks in his own novel. 'Utterson thought he had never seen that part of London so deserted,' building up a feel that 'something is seriously amiss,' the setting adding tension to the novel. Stevenson describes the weather as 'a great chocolate-coloured pall lowered over heaven.' The reader would associate a 'pall' with funerals and coffins, creating a very sombre mood, and enhances the effect and mood evil creates as the reader begins to understand the depressed and grave status of evil. In conclusion, Stevenson has used a number of techniques to convey to his readers the concept of evil. Not only the character of Mr Hyde accomplishes this and the characters forceful reactions to him, but the 'deserted' setting described and the 'square full of wind and dust,' which describes the eerie weather. All these factors help to add a sombre mood when reading the novel and helps the reader to set a mood which is realistic idea of the corrupt, giving a strong feeling of evil. Stevenson, I feel by showing such consequences of murder by tampering with evil, wants to show his reader the power and seriousness of meddling with the unknown, clearly showing he disagrees with tampering with nature. Evil in this novel is shown to be malicious, dangerous, yet exciting initially. By using characters of such varying character traits and different morals, I feel Stevenson is trying to make the point that there is evil in everyone, as everyone has two sides, however some are not content with this and feel the need to explore the unknown and meddle with the mystery of evil. ?? ?? ?? ?? Florence Swann Page 1 ...read more.

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