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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 1 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 predict that the novel is a form of horror fantasy. 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'. Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850 and died in 1894 at the early age of 44. ...read more.

Middle

Stevenson structures the novel 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 trampled over a girl and 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. The interior and exterior can relate to humans, as the interior represents the part people choose not to show and the exterior is what people do decide to show of their personalities. Secrecy is another theme Stevenson uses. All around England, Stevenson saw that although on the outside most noblemen seemed to be fine and upstanding citizens, inside they hid dark secrets. Many critics have suggested that 'Jekyll and Hyde' was a confession by Stevenson of his own dark nature. I think the two areas reflect Jekyll and Hyde's different personalities. Jekyll is the main character that reflects good in people because he has a respectable occupation, he is wealthy, he had a privileged upbringing, a high reputation, reserved and has high ambitions. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mr Utterson was confused and therefore went looking for Hyde and visited an old friend of his and Jekyll's, Dr. Lanyon, for an explanation. That night Mr Utterson relived the story in his dream, which shows how determined he was to get some answers and because he is a lawyer it's in his nature to investigate. I think Stevenson felt while writing the novel that everyone has a split personality and that we all have evil and good inside us. I think he also thought that different people choose to show different sides of their personality and that is why everyone in the world is different. He is shown 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 and Jekyll then commits suicide. I think 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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