Explore the representation of Evil in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Explore the Representation of Evil in Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde

The stereotypical view of evil is shown through dark colours and beings such as the devil, these contrasts with murders and killings as shown in Jekyll and Hyde. In Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde the views on good and evil are shown through characters appearances, their behaviour, the modern standard of living and suppression; there are communicated by gothic horror. Throughout the story, there are references to light and dark which metaphorically relates to good vs. evil, not only between characters, but in the conflicting sides of the same character. At the setting of the play (Victorian era) Science had just been introduced into the Victorian era and was treated as unexplainable circumstances as little was known behind the theory of experiments. This caused for mystery in the Victorian era, thus making Jekyll and Hyde a more horrific and frightening novel. Stevenson had an obsession with the darker side of life and he relates to the character of Hyde by being a respectable man during the day but losing to his obsessions at night. Stevenson, can relate to his novel as he lived in Edinburgh, though in the more affluent area. The setting of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is London but it was based on Edinburgh with the contrast of two sides of poor and rich. In this essay, I will explore how evil is represented in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in the Victorian era.

        At this time, crime was extremely high in the poorer areas which lead people, in desperation to make a living, to involve themselves in crimes (murder, rape, prostitution…). The Victorian era was host to many notorious murders such as Jack the Ripper, who, as seen stereotypically was never identified. The murder knew his way around the human body showing a sign of education thus having as he appeared to have a great anatomical knowledge, hence making him a respectable man by day and a butcher by night. This may have greatly influenced Stevenson, with the magnificent degree of mystery surrounding the case, it may have given rise to thoughts on how to a great, mysterious villain may operate, fuelling Stevenson’s imagination. Dr. Jekyll was an intelligent man with scientific knowledge, but his reflection; Mr. Hyde was a violent crook.

Smog was extremely thick London due to the highly populated industrial farms, causing for the environment to be covered. This made for it be close to impossible to see in distances, so villains could use this as an aid for means of escape. These city conditions were the perfect environment for elaborating deaths, murder and mystery to show pure evil. At the beginning we see Mr. Enfield witness the incident of the little girl, and he describes the magnitude of the smog.

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        There was an incredibly strict code of conduct in the Victorian times, with many natural desires being repressed. The seven deadly sins are a perfect example of some of the things that were repressed. These are lust, gluttony, greed, pride, sloth, wrath and envy. The repression of lust was so great that table legs would have been covered at all time. Middle-class men would have been expected to conceal their secret desires, and if they wanted to express them, they would have to do so in darker parts of the city. This can explain Dr. Jekyll’s  desire to transform himself ...

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