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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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The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Question: What view of human nature does Stevenson present in the novel "The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"? Throughout Stevenson's life he experienced things by looking at them in two different perspectives. He later went on to exhibit his experiences by writing a novel about split personality called "The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". This essay will comment and explain Stevenson's view of human nature within the novel. What is human nature? In my opinion human nature is the natural disposition of a human being, his/her inborn inclination to act, speak and so on. However, his/her behaviour, social attitudes, thoughts and concepts of life can be cultivated and nurtured by his/her parents/guardians. In the novel "The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" a number of themes are explored, one of the most important theme is the duality of human nature and from which the novel is centred. Although the theme does not emerge fully until the last-chapter when the Jekyll- Hyde relationship is revealed we confront the theory of a dual human nature explicitly after having witnessed all of the events of the novel, including Hyde's crimes and his ultimate eclipsing of Jekyll. The text not only posits the duality of human nature as its central theme but also forces us to examine the properties of this duality and to think back upon each of the novels episodes as we bring together the various thoughts and concepts. Duality in many aspects of the novel features as a device used to intensify the plot. The novel "the strange case of Dr. ...read more.


One wonders to himself or herself was Dr. Jekyll an evil person; for all human beings are commingled out of good and evil, which makes one wonder what happened to Jekyll's good side at the end of the novel or was his inner passion full of pure evil for which it reinforces the thought of Dr. Jekyll being a hypocrite. In the novel Dr. Jekyll is described as "a large, well, smooth-faced man of fifty, with something of a stylish cast perhaps." Whereas the first description we get of Mr. Hyde is " he was small, very plainly dressed, and the look of him, even at the distance, went somehow against the watchers inclination." The difference between their personalities can clearly be seen from these quotations but then one has to remember that these two people were infact one person so this proves that people have two sides to them and so therefore the co-existence of the two is the only way two survive in this world. Hyde is described as small because he has just been born (created) so he is still a baby and so is plainly dressed. Because he is not fully evolved he is only half of a person, his description is beyond imagination. In the opening chapter Mr. Enfield responding to a question asked my Mr. Utterson says, "he [Hyde] is not easy to describe. There is something wrong with his appearance". "I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scare know why." Stevenson makes Hyde seem less than a fully evolved human, more akin to animals than the rest of mankind, with imagery as the "hissing intake of the breath" emphasises Hyde's animality. ...read more.


he was still digging at the problem." This is an indication of the duality of his character; would "men of high social status" visit areas such as Soho in the silence of the night? Later on in the novel, when Dr. Lanyon is deceased and has left a letter for Mr.Utterson not to be opened "until the death or disappearance of Dr. Henry Jekyll", Mr.Utterson is tempted "to disregard the prohibition" illustrating the omnipresence of duality within all character. Utterson is also very worried about Jekyll's relationship with Hyde; he thinks that Hyde is blackmailing Jekyll. He looks for something in Hyde's past so that he can help his friend but he finds nothing. Even though he suspects that Jekyll is hiding Hyde he does not say anything because part of being his friend is to help him out not to get him in trouble. Coming to a conclusion using today's modern science we can class Dr.Jekyll's personality as a multiple personality disorder. In Dr. Jekyll's confession, Stevenson succinctly summarises, "man will be ultimately known for a mere polity of multi-farious, incongruous and independent denizens." Stevenson does not indicate any-type of re-formation devices to rid evil from good in a dual personality. Does this indicate that a device is non-existing for a complete re-formation from one complete state to another? Henceforth it is pointless to say the least have any system of re-formation would clearly not work/particularly as the novel denotes that evil and good is a natural disposition/make-up of a human being. In theory, one cannot live without the other, because in the end when Jekyll kills himself, Hyde also has to die with him. Mohammed Shuaib - 11NGO - Sapphire House < Pre 20th Prose Coursework > - 1 - ...read more.

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