DrJekyll And Mr Hyde-Exploring The Duality Of The Human Nature

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English Coursework                


The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

By Robert Louis Stevenson –

How Does Stevenson Show The Duality Of Human Nature In The Novel?


Manjinder Ghuman


How Does Stevenson Show The Duality Of Human Nature In The Novel?

In this piece of coursework I will investigate how Robert Louis Stevenson explores and shows the duality – split personality, of human nature. The idea of duality is thought of humans having two sides to their personality, in the book’s case, good and evil.

This novel was written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was first published in 1886 as a Victorian Gothic Horror. The book is famous for the portrayal of the psychopathology of a split personality in a human being. The phrase ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ has today in modern society has come to signify a wild or split behaviour of a person due to this book written by Robert Louis Stevenson. This novel by Louis Stevenson has an underlining moral telling us about the constant struggle between the good and evil in each person, furthermore it describes to the reader the tension between the two forces and how at any point the good or evil can take over one’s personality. In addition to this introduction to the theme of split personality, the book portrays two different ideas of ‘Darwinism’ and ‘Primitivism’. These issues were great hot topics in the Victorian society at that point in time. As a great man – Charles Darwin - had just published a book called the ‘Origin of Species’.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is about a London lawyer who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll and the misanthropic Mr Edward Hyde. The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was an immediate success and one of Robert Louis Stevenson’s best selling works. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde based all around the three main characters Dr Jekyll, Mr Hyde and Mr Utterson. Mr Utterson is a London lawyer who on one of his regular Sunday walks is told by one Mr Richard Enfield a bizarre story about a mysterious looking door in pleasant district of London. Mr Richard Enfield’s story is about when one night he witnessed a small, malformed and rather incongruous man trampling over a girl. When he, along with the child’s family members cornered the odd man (Who in actual fact is Mr Hyde) they forced him to pay compensation of one hundred pounds.

That evening on hearing the peculiar story Mr Utterson, the lawyer, returns home, but he cannot sleep so he decides to track down Mr Edward Hyde, in this part of the book Mr Utterson uses Mr Hyde’s name as a homophone (using his name to mean ‘Hide’-to conceal something, instead of ‘Hyde’) in doing this Mr Utterson make himself “Mr Seek”. After much searching about the streets of the great city he finds Mr Hyde going into Dr Jekyll’s house, Mr Utterson confronts him. From this first meeting of the two, many awful things happen, such as the death of Sir Danvers Carew. Also Mr Utterson becomes obsessed with Mr Hyde and tries to delve deeper into his Edwards Hyde’s complicated world to find out who or what Mr Hdye is.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s book is a typical book of the Victorian age and this is shown by the language used in the novel and also subjects that are aroused and explored. The book subtly expands ideas that were popular in the Victorian time such as Darwinism and Primitivism. These ideas portrayed by using characters like Mr. Hyde. A possibility is that Stevenson uses his novel to mask and vent his own thoughts on the subject of Darwin’s Theory.

In addition Stevenson demonstrates the attitudes of the Victorian society. In the age Stevenson wrote this book the general public showed and kept respectability, reputation and repression, these three rules were the sub conscience pillar of morals that everyone adhered to in the Victorian times. Each of them had a meaning and is shown to the reader by different characters throughout the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. Reputation is shown to us in the form of Jekyll as the community see him part of a society which is made up of “intelligent, reputable men” with unblemished pasts.

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The following quote “hid them with an almost morbid sense of shame” reveals the fact that Jekyll has never unleashed his true feelings, showing repression, meaning when someone keeps the emotion hidden. In Henry Jekyll’s case of repression we find out that his true feelings explode out in the form of Mr. Hyde.

The final ‘rule’, respectability, can also be shown by Dr. Jekyll or even Mr. Utterson, as they are both professionals and therefore regarded highly within the community which is important. These three sub conscience rules were very much used in the Victorian age and therefore the ...

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