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How does Stevenson Present Conflict between Good and Evil in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?

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Introduction

By Karan Patel 10R How does Stevenson Present Conflict between Good and Evil in 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?' Robert Louis Stevenson wrote "The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" in 1886. The novel is set in Victorian London in the 1800's. The novel consists of two main genres, gothic horror and science fiction. Charles Darwin's 'theory of evolution' was one of Stevenson's biggest influences. Stevenson has used Darwin's theory throughout the play; this is shown to us through the character of Mr. Hyde. Stevenson has also used Darwin's theory to present the conflict between good and evil in Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As the novel was written in the 1800's allot of people believed strongly in physiognomy and Stevenson has used this in the novel - Mr. Hyde looks bad on the outside and therefore he is a bad person and is judged by others. In the novel 'Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' the first character who is introduced to us is Mr. Utterson. Mr Utterson is described to us in great detail as a lonely, moody man with very few friends who hardly has a social life, yet he is also said to be 'somehow loveable.' ...read more.

Middle

Stevenson uses the character of Mr. Lanyon to show the duality between Dr Jekyll and Mr. Lanyon. In the novel by having a scientist who likes to practice unnatural science and having Mr. Hyde a beastly character we are almost made to create an image of Frankenstein. Stevenson was also influenced by the story of Frankenstein and that is one of the themes carried through the novel. Dr Jekyll is shown to be the good side if one person and Mr. Hyde are the bad. Stevenson was very interested in the duality of men and has show the conflict between the two very well. In the novel Stevenson uses a variety of narrative techniques for different effects through the novel. In chapters 1-8 (not including ch.4) the story is told from Mr. Uttersons point of view. In these chapters Utterson almost becomes our narrator, this is effective as it is written in the third person and we are made to jump to the wrong conclusions .e.g. we are made to believe that Dr Jekyll is being forced to write his will as Mr Hyde is forcing him to leave every thing to him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hyde is poor and dirty as though he does not care for his personal appearance. Stevenson has used these effects to create the effect of mystery and secrecy. In conclusion we can see that Stevenson has used a variety of effects to present the conflict between good and evil very well throughout the play. Stevenson was influenced by many different things during the 19th centuary and has explored what is today the historical, social and literary content well in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is based on the story of Edinburgh's infamous Deacon Brodie, who was discovered to have been living a double life, coupled with a dream Stevenson had one night, what he called "a fine bogey tale," about a man who drinks a potion made from a white powder and subsequently transforms into a devilish creature. The novel is still applied in school all round the country as it is still as relevant as it was then. Stevenson's novel explores the duality on men in great detail which is also still relevant today. Also in the novel Stevenson explores physiognomy which is still followed today by nearly all of us even though we do not realise it everyone judges things by the way it looks may it be people, buildings or streets. ...read more.

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