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What view of human nature does Stevenson present in the novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

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Introduction

Essay Draft 2 Assignment 2 - What view of human nature does Stevenson present in the novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde? The title chosen by the author, Robert Louis Stevenson is, 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'. From the title the reader can also predict that the novel is a form of horror fantasy, which explores society's anxieties of the unknown. The word 'Case' in the title suggests either a possible police investigation, some type of medical study or law. Also the name, 'Dr. Jekyll', inflicts upon the reader that Jekyll is of importance and authority. In the novel both perceptions from the title are true. However, the title shows no indication that 'Jekyll and Hyde' are two characters within one person. The book is based on human nature and concentrates on the mixture of good and evil in people. In the Cambridge dictionary the definition for the word, 'human nature' is, 'The natural ways of behaving that most people share'. It also states that 'You can't change human nature'. 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' was one of Stevenson's most successful novels and was written in 1885, nine years before his death. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore this enabled Stevenson to create Hyde and Jekyll living in two dissimilar societies. The two areas appear to reflect Jekyll and Hyde's different personalities. Jekyll is the main character who reflects good in people because he has a respectable occupation, he is wealthy and reserved, he had a privileged upbringing, a high reputation and has high ambitions. He lives in an upper class area, where doctors and lawyers amongst other reputable people live. The part of London in which Hyde lives, Soho, is described as a 'dark', 'dingy' and 'dismal' district. Mr Hyde is poor and people in his community are conveyed as 'Slatternly passengers'. Stevenson may have chosen Soho for Hyde to live because it's a secretive place, which is ideal for someone who doesn't want to be noticed. The novel is structured relating it to the Victorian Home. The back door used by Hyde to enter the house could represent the entrance of evil. Crime and evilness in general is committed in the poor district, which is where Mr. Hyde killed Sir Danvers Carew. The novel is set as a contrast between interior and exterior. In the exterior, crimes and social meetings occur and in the interior, hidden away are secret laboratories and elegant rooms, this duality represents the social theme. ...read more.

Conclusion

'I was slowly losing hold of my original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with my second and worse'. In my opinion every person has good and evil inside them. People who show their evil side are portrayed as 'bad people', when actually the evil they are showing is inside others, who hide it and therefore are respected in the community as a 'good people.' It appears Stevenson also felt while writing the novel that everyone has a split personality and that we all have evil and good inside us. The reader is lead to believe this when Jekyll says that everyone is 'commingled out of good and evil' and 'it seemed natural and human' for Jekyll to create Hyde. He also thought that different people choose to show different sides of their personality and that is why everyone is different. He shows his view on human nature through the characters, Jekyll and Hyde. Stevenson suggests in the novel that evil is potentially more powerful than good. He suggests this by writing at the end of the novel that Hyde overpowers Jekyll, who then commits suicide. Stevenson is trying to say that if you give evil an inch, it will take a mile. Meaning that if you decide to show your evil inner side like Jekyll did through Hyde, then evil will take advantage and overpower you. ...read more.

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