• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What view of human nature does Stevenson present in the novel, The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde psychologically explores the dual nature of the human personality and represents a conflict between good and evil. It suggests a co-existence in the human body and soul of goodness, morality, and idealism along with evil, depravity, and sadism. In the novel are four men of similar character and social standing, Mr. Utterson, Mr. Enfield, Dr. Lanyon, and Dr. Jekyll, who should all be quite capable of subduing their evil impulses. But Dr. Jekyll fails to do so, and the novel is the story of his failure and the problems and dilemmas he faces. In this piece of writing I aim to explore the views of human nature that Stevenson conveys to the reader through his writing. I am also going to look at how the strong Victorian values influenced Stevenson and his writing. Dr. Jekyll believes "All human beings... are commingled out of good and evil." However Stevenson's protagonist, Dr. Jekyll, manages to isolate and separate his evil side from his good side, creating in the process two very different people; Jekyll, who represents not pure good, but the whole of a person, and Hyde, who represents pure evil, and contains little, if any, of Jekyll in him. ...read more.

Middle

Only vigorous personalities are capable of either the heights of virtue or the depths of vice, and Dr. Jekyll is such a personality. In him, both the good and the evil tendencies of human nature are very strong. His descent into extreme evil is due to the fact that he has a very high standard of virtue. He is determined to keep the two sides of his nature completely apart. But in isolating his evil side, he dooms himself. Stevenson suggests that once one gives free rein to their evil tendencies, there is no going back. Although Dr. Jekyll believes that "The moment I choose, I can be rid of Mr. Hyde." However he later admits "I was slowly losing hold of my original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with my second and worse." So indeed, as soon as Dr. Jekyll creates Edward Hyde, he starts on a journey to utter moral downfall. He loses contact first with his good side and then with his friends. The more he plays at being Hyde the more he is cut off from their good influence. Finally becoming Hyde is no longer a matter of choice. Lanyon is an extreme example of what happens to one who is unwilling to accept the existence of evil as a primal, universal force. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stevenson also employs powerful imagery to describe the fog-shrouded streets of London, soon after the murder of Sir Danvers Carew. They are "like a district of some city in a nightmare." Touches like these throughout the novel add to its depth, richness, and complexity. Stevenson's style shows the kind of man he was. His writing is full of echoes from great writers and books. Like many writers of his day, the Bible was a major source of allusion and inspiration. For example, he refers to Cain's "heresy" in the first chapter of this book. In the last chapter, he makes a pointed reference to the "Babylonian finger on the wall" spelling out Jekyll's judgment. I think that his views come from his strict Calvinist upbringing. In conclusion, I think that Stevenson believes that within every person exists good (Jekyll) and evil (Hyde) but each individual person has the choice whether to be good or evil. This co-existence in the human body creates an inner conflict. I think that Stevenson may have based the very vivid and defined character, Dr Jekyll on himself because the novel is presented as a "case" which gives it an air of reality. Stevenson was also from a very strict religious background of which he eventually rebelled against. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Lucy Simmons 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Robert Louis Stevenson essays

  1. How does Stevenson Present Good and Evil in "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll ...

    The concept of "Good versus Evil" has always been around as a common occurrence, and is seen in many stories or television programmes today. Robert Louis Stevenson was raised in a very strict Presbyterian home where the concept of God and Satan was all around him.

  2. How is the Dual Nature of Man's Personality Explored in "The Strange Case of ...

    This great secret was unbearable for Lanyon to keep and it began to eat away inside him. This led to the destruction of Dr. Lanyon mentally, and very soon, physically. Stevenson has used personification in his novel. One example of this is, "The fog still slept on the wing above the drowned city."

  1. How does Stevenson present the conflict between good and evil in Dr Jekyll and ...

    This means that we see the story from the perspective of somebody who is not directly involved and therefore means that the reader does not see the full truth until the end when everything is explained from the viewpoint of the doctor Lanyon and then Jekyll himself.

  2. How Stevenson uses his techniques as a writer to present character and atmosphere in ...

    reflect that perhaps he is an insecure and not a very seriously talkative man. His appearance is said to be 'Lean, Long, dust dreary and yet somehow loveable.' His appearance is not of a young man but of an older more mature man, but he is loved for being himself and looked up to greatly.

  1. How does Stevenson explore the theme of duality in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

    At this point however he does not realise the seriousness of what is happening and like every villain there is always a space of time when a good deed they do: so in this case the imprisonment of Hyde which Jekyll hides once more like before the potion discovery Hyde within himself - at his core: '....

  2. Jekyll and Hyde chapter by chapter summary.

    Utterson and Mr. Enfield have more questions, rather than less, about Jekyll, Hyde, and their relationship. The iron bars on the window of Jekyll�s house are also significantly symbolic. To Jekyll and Utterson, and to the rest of the world at large, Jekyll has imprisoned himself both literally and figuratively.

  1. How does the novel "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"bring out ...

    Stevenson was able to question the duality in man which under the influence of the Church may not have happened. This same reason may be given for Jekyll to create a Hyde. Religion caused Jekyll to be so confined within his boundaries that he felt a need to create a Hyde so to let out all his inner feelings.

  2. What view of human nature does Stevenson present in the Novel The Strange Case ...

    The word ?pleasure? suggests that he likes transforming into Hyde. Hyde is known to be a cruel man who in appearance in deformed and horrendous ?hardly human?. This suggests that Hyde is an animal or a beast. Hyde is also described as ?hellish to see? which portrays to the reader that he is extremely frightening.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work