• 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 ...

    the everyday pressures and responsibility when he was Hyde as nobody recognised him. This meant he could be free to do what he wanted without society judging him on his behaviour. However, Jekyll is sometimes horrified and regrets the actions that he undertook as Hyde.

  1. Analyse how R.L Stevenson explores the issue of the Duality of Human Nature in ...

    that were relevant at the time when he wrote "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde"; they are also issues that possibly concerned him at the time of writing. The first theme is that of the duality of human nature. "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" centres upon a conception of humanity as

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

    He is good a reliable and is a great influence on down going men, his true nature is what people adore. The language used in this first paragraph which is continually used throughout the chapter, has given him a personality and an image of his appearance.

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

    then victims that they themselves had murdered to be used in medical research. This was highly disturbing, particularly since their main client Dr Knox must have known that the bodies they were receiving did not come from moral sources. Another example in the society of the time was Deacon Brodie, a respected cabinet maker who was also a skilled burglar.

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

    Henry Jekyll stood at times aghast before the acts of Edward Hyde...' this time being one of them. '...but the situation was apart from ordinary laws, and insidiously relaxed the grasp of conscience...' as Jekyll peptalked himself into believing: '...It was Hyde, after all, and Hyde alone, that was guilty.

  1. Jekyll and Hyde chapter by chapter summary.

    Not only does Utterson communicate the mysterious "do not open document," but all communication between Jekyll and Utterson is done through written methods as well. Written word, something concrete, forwards the plot and reveals secrets in Stevenson�s Jekyll and Hyde.

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

    It can also mean that Hyde resembles the devil. Hyde?s actions and behaviour shows that he is inhumane ?he was trampling his victim underfoot, and hailing down a storm of blows? Stevenson?s use powerful words emphasise Hyde?s violent actions. The word ?trampling? contributes to the suggestion of Hyde being some sort of animal.

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