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What was Stevenson's view of human nature as portrayed in the novel "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?"

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Introduction

What was Stevenson's view of human nature as portrayed in the novel "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?" In this essay, I am going to look at Robert Louis Stevenson's view of human nature as portrayed in the novel. "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde". Stevenson thought that human nature consisted of good and evil in conflict inside a person. He believed that everyone had a good and bad side. Jekyll and Hyde was written in 1886 by Robert Louis Stevenson. It is set in Victorian London. At this time people were concerned with appearing respectable so they were very keen on morals and manners. Society was divided into social classes. According to Darwin's theory of evolution, the upper classes were most highly evolved and they believed they were "naturally" superior to others and that the lower classes couldn't help some of their less respectable behaviour, such as drinking in pubs or taking opium. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a short novel. In the first part of the book it is written in short chapters, in the third person, from the point of view of Dr Jekyll's friend, the lawyer Mr Utterson. ...read more.

Middle

To his surprise the cheque was genuine Enfield felt that the little man must be blackmailing his friend. Enfield has since seen the little man go in and out of that door several times, but no one else. The man's name was Mr Hyde. Enfield and Utterson both know that the door leads to the back of the house. They both agree to never mention it again. Chapter 2 is the "Search for Mr Hyde". Mr Utterson returns home, feeling troubled. He took out a copy of a will his friend Dr Jekyll had left in his care. Dr Jekyll stated that in the event of his "disappearance or unexplained absence" Mr Hyde would take over all of Dr Jekyll's affairs. Mr Utterson did not like this will especially as he didn't know who Mr Hyde was. Enfield was now more convinced that Dr Jekyll had done something that Mr Hyde was blackmailing him over. He decided to contact a mutual friend of his and Dr Jekyll's called, Dr Lanyon. Dr Lanyon explained that he had had very little to do with Jekyll for over ten years because he had been coming out with some scientific theories that Lanyon felt were complete rubbish, but Lanyon had never heard of Mr Hyde. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stevenson presents Mr Hyde as being small, ugly and somehow primitive. At the time that Stevenson wrote Jekyll and Hyde, Darwin's theory of evolution had been recently published. So Stevenson is implying that Jekyll's evil side is more primitive and less evolved. Jekyll reveals in his full statement that "man is not truly one but truly two". Mr Hyde had no feelings of guilt or remorse at trampling a young child; only fear of discovery. When we look at Stevenson's own views about good and bad in society, we begin to understand some of the conflict we see in the Jekyll/Hyde character it is clear that it is nothing to do with nice Dr Jekyll, it was Mr Hyde's entire evil fault. Stevenson uses Jekyll/Hyde as a device to show that good versus evil is part of he inner man for all of us. The story shows what happens when the evil side becomes the stronger - when Dr Jekyll wakes up still as Mr Hyde - unable to return to his normal self as events spiral out of control. This theme of good and evil continues to constantly interest and intrigue people today. ...read more.

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