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With Reference to "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" By Robert Louis Stevenson, explore how Stevenson presents the notion of the duality of man. How does this reflect the era in which it was written?

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Introduction

With Reference to "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" By Robert Louis Stevenson, explore how Stevenson presents the notion of the duality of man. How does this reflect the era in which it was written? When Robert Louis Stevenson first wrote "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", it was received with mixed emotions of shock and horror. The people who read it were used to his previous work which was much more tame and controversial; such as "Treasure Island" which is now a well know childhood story. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a Victorian gothic horror, which were known for being dark and for their use of formal dialogue, which often had metaphoric representation on the social conventions of the day. Stevenson's book explores the ideas of the duality of man and the debates between religion and science for the origin of man which is then in turn affected by the differences between the classes of the time period. When Stevenson wrote "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", it was a time of new discoveries and the industrial revolution, and science developments such as Darwin's theory of evolution. This then caused conflict between the men of science and of religion, the religious side being in uproar from Darwin's Theory of Evolution and the defiance of God. It was also a time of medical discovery, with grave robbers and body snatchers stealing bodies for medical advances, most famously Burke and Hare, as this was the only way for doctors to get the bodies they needed to further their knowledge. ...read more.

Middle

happening, he uses it to show us how he believes something has gone wrong with Jekyll that has made him become unscientific and "fanciful". The church's reaction to "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" was of shock and outcry, as what Jekyll did would be seen as playing God. This moral outrage would also have been raised by the Darwinism debate of the time, with Hyde's appearance ape-like this shows Stevenson supporting the theory of evolution. This theme of scientific experimentation and mutation means that you could take life into your own hands and became a favourite theme for most gothic rights due the conflict it caused due to outstanding issues. It suggested science was the key to life, not religion. Robert Louis Stevenson develops his characters in such a way that it holds the tension, especially towards the end when it is brought to a climax. When we look at the character of Jekyll we see him as a man of the upper class, who was well liked and generous. "Every mark of capacity and kindness-you could see by his look that he cherished for Mr. Utterson a sincere and warm affection" P 26 But as the story progresses, we can see through his actions that he is somewhat different to this in private, and is viewed in a different way by Lanyon after and argument. "I wish to see or hear no more of Dr. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stevenson uses many different styles of writing throughout the story ranging from letters to wills. Stevenson finishes the story with a letter, which ends the story clearly yet in a climatic way causing suspense throughout. These different conventions help to show the different ways the characters react to different situations and events. "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" caused many raging issues for all classes and affected all boundaries, not just because it was unlike anything Stevenson had written before, but because of its questioning nature. The most important question it asks is what is the duality of man and what are we? The story creates the idea that humans are in fact two separate entities. We see Jekyll attempting to do this, to separate man into good and evil, but he in fact plays with fire and failed. In this Stevenson is suggesting that humans can't play god, that certain things are beyond our control, and that trying and partially succeeding will have consequences that Jekyll wasn't prepared to take. This is because we are we are a construction of God himself. This, could be seen as Stevenson taking the side of religion and suggesting that science could never replace the work of God because God is to powerful and that certain things beyond are knowledge can not be tampered with without trouble and that there is a duality of man then the conditions have not yet been found, and that until then God is still the control of Science. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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