How does Stevenson express the idea of the duality of man’s nature through his presentation of Jekyll and Hyde?
Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novella written by R.L. Stevenson in 1886. This novella is about a man called Dr Jekyll who has two sides to him. The evil side of him is Mr. Hyde and the good side of him is Dr Jekyll. He turns into an evil indescribable human being by taking a potion which he made himself, also his appearance changes and his personality changes. Mr. Utterson and Mr. Enfield investigate the case of Dr. Jekylls will, Mr.Utterson is a lawyer and Mr.Enfied is a relative. In this essay I will compare and contrast the good side and the bad side of Dr.Jekyll.
The name Hyde suggests a number of things, first of all, it suggest that he is a person who likes to hide away and it suggests that he has to be found. He likes to keep away from people and conceals himself. More over, it suggests that he his hiding away so people do not know his secret and preventing them to know the truth. The reader first meets Mr. Hyde is when Mr. Utterson and Mr. Enfield talk about him over an incident where Mr. Hyde tried to kill a young innocent girl. Enfield said ‘it wasn’t like a man. It was like some damned juggernaut’, the two main words ‘damned juggernaut’ suggest many things, first of all the word ‘damned’ could mean ‘detestable’, so that means Hyde was a person who people will hate. The word ‘juggernaut’ suggests he was something really big, powerful and destructive. This shows that Hyde was definitely not a normal human being, he was something different. Also, the first time we hear his name is when the lawyer asks Enfield for the name of the person who attempted to kill the girl, ‘it was a man of the name Hyde’. However, he is not easy to describe, Enfield said this about Hyde ‘something wrong with his appearance’, and this obviously suggests the he is strange looking and something abnormal. He also says ‘something displeasing, something downright detestable’. The word displeasing can mean a lot of things; firstly it can mean that Hyde is a person you wouldn’t get on with and wouldn’t like, it also can mean that he is a person you wouldn’t want to look at and you won’t be impressed. Furthermore, the word ‘detestable’ means that he is a person who you will hate for the bad things he had done. ‘He gives a strong feeling of deformity’, this was said about him. If you were deformed it meant that you are a bit different than ordinary human beings, for example, your body could be deformed, you could be very short for the rest of your life. So that means you have a deformity. This suggests that Hyde was something different, something that people never knew of. Science was still being researched in those days; no body knew why some people were deformed. They just looked at deformed people in a strange way; they were freaked out and suspicious. Similarly, Hyde was described as a ‘dwarfish’. Firstly, if people were dwarfs, it meant that they were very short and diminutive. Secondly, dwarves were sees with suspicion in Victorian times, people also seen them as freaks and sub-human. It was like he wasn’t evolved yet. We learn many things, about his character. First of all, we know that Dr. Jekyll has two sides to himself, the bad and the good. Hyde is a very sly person and a quite on too. Also, people are always suspicious when they see him, talking of which he is very hard to find. He is totally the opposite of Dr. Jekyll.
This is a preview of the whole essay
The first time we meet Dr. Jekyll is when, Utterson goes into his safe (Jekyll) and find his will, the reason why he went to his safe was because he was suspicious about the way Jekyll is acting and how he is acting strange, this is the first time we hear his name in this novella. He is described as ‘a large-well made, smooth faced man of fifty with something of a stylish cast perhaps’, this shows the he was definitely the opposite of Hyde, because Hyde is very ugly and very hard to describe. Whereas Jekyll has smooth skin and is better looking than Hyde. This reflects his innocence and the good side of him which is not the case for Mr. Hyde. Moreover, Lanyon and Utterson both talked about how he has changed, ‘too fanciful for me’, this suggests that he has changed, into a different person. Also, that he has become to ‘fancy’. Jekyll had a lot of personal qualities such as, he is a very good experimenter, he even made his own potion which changed him into Hyde, but he could be seen as impatient, because he always want to turn into Hyde. He loves the bad side of him. Jekyll is a well known person and has a very high status. On the other hand, he was also a kind person, ‘every mark of capacity and kindness’, this shows that he was a good person when he was Jekyll and a bad person when he was Hyde. Jekyll is seen as the perfect Victorian gentlemen, he is seen as respectable, and this is the total opposite to his bad side.
When Utterson met Hyde, he called out his name and expected a response, ‘Mr. Hyde shrank back with a hissing intake of breath, but his fear was only momentary’; this shows that Utterson was nervous as well as Hyde. Also, the word ‘shrank’ suggests something small, Hyde was a very small person, a dwarf, this relates to Darwin’s theory that we have evolved from animals, similarly it says ‘hissing’, this remind people of a snake, the way a snake hisses, this again is related to Darwin’s theory, snakes are often seen as sneaky and quite animals, just like Hyde. Darwin’s theory shows how man has evolved from apes to humans over time. Utterson and Hyde were nervous to talk to each other. Hyde was scared to talk at first. Hyde was covering his face from Utterson, this shows that he doesn’t want to be noticed or known, Utterson felt very suspicious and wondered why he wasn’t showing his face. He was then asked to show his face by Utterson, but ‘Mr. Hyde appeared to hesitate’. Hyde gave Utterson an address which Utterson was very puzzled and lost. He recognized the address he was given by Hyde. Utterson’s impression of Hyde isn’t good; he is freaked out and confused.
The reader sees the evil Hyde commit a terrible crime in the chapter titled ‘the Carew murder case’; Hyde murders a person called Carew. A maid saw everything that happened that night. She saw a man (Carew) ‘an aged beautiful gentleman with white hair’, then she saw ‘another and very small gentleman’ (Hyde), she did not take any notice of him at first. Carew is described as beautiful; this contrasts with Hyde, because Hyde was ugly and unattractive. Then she saw both of them talking until the moon shone, which then Hyde’s evil side was beginning to show. He was carrying a heavy cane, in anger he killed Carew and ‘clubbed him to the earth’ this shows that Hyde actually killed a person, who he must have hated in the past. A savaged animal like an ape will act crazy, just how Hyde acted by ‘clubbing’ the man to death, animals go out of control and this is similar to the way Hyde was acting, like an ape. Then Hyde was described as having ‘ape-like fury’ by the maid, the word ape goes back to Darwin’s theory, he believed humans evolved from apes, then gradually we turned into human beings. This theory was important at the time this novella was written because we as the reader can easily see how Stevenson tried to show how our bad side can be similar to how animal act when they become angry. The maid described him as if it was too hard to describe what he was, but it was nothing like a normal human being. This scene was much intensified. Hyde was killing Carew as if he was an animal; he was shattering his bones and doing nasty things to him.
Through out this novella, we have learnt many things about Jekyll as a person. We know that everyone has a good side and a bad side, ‘man is not truly one but truly two’ this suggests that everyone could be kind but yet again everyone can be very cruel. This shows the duality of mans nature, the word ‘duo’ means two. Jekyll prefers to be Hyde, because he enjoys killing people even though he knows that he is better of being Jekyll, after he takes his potion he said ‘ I felt younger, lighter, happier in body’, Hyde is dominant over Jekyll. We also learn that, Jekyll is not as ugly as Hyde, we know that Hyde is very hard to describe due to his features. Jekyll was more sensible and kind, whereas Hyde was heartless and did not have any feelings. As the novella went on, Hyde was becoming stronger and stronger, soon Jekyll was being forgotten. Jekyll preferred his old body ‘I preferred the elderly and discounted doctor’, this shows that he doesn’t like being a dwarfish but he still prefers to be evil. Jekyll was a really respectful person and a person which no-one rarely hated, his characteristics makes him a wonderful gentleman, but the shocking side of him is nowhere to be compared.
Darwin was a great scientist, he believed the humans started off as apes and then slowly became into humans as time passed. Hyde was described as an ape by the maid, also people did not know much about deformity, so science wasn’t that popular and people did not know the reasons why people acted in a certain way. Also how man can change or how species can change into something better. Duality of mans nature simple means, that there are always two sides to everyone, a good and a bad side. But one is more dominant than the other, for example Hyde is dominant over Jekyll.
A mans original instincts are survival of the fittest, and to be the fittest you have to be a fight and not contempt with fear, as does Mr. Hyde, he fights like an animal and not like a normal human being. Apes do not fight like humans, they fight like animals, similarly Hyde was called a Ape because of his looks.
Ugliness is heavily associated with evilness, because there’s the sense of negativity linked between the two. If you saw someone evil, automatically you'd assume that they'd have some ugly features and evils linked to sin, and crime, so they're all linked.