Jekyll & Hyde - duality 1

Authors Avatar

Tom Pearson 10L

English Coursework                 

How Does Stevenson Explore the Duality of Human Nature in

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ ?

        ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ is a novella written by the respected Scottish Author Robert Louis Stevenson, who was born on November 15th, 1850, in Edinburgh. The story was first published in 1886, and has since become the most popular of all his books. One of the previous manuscripts of this novel is thought to have been thrown into the fireplace by himself after his wife criticized it, saying that it wasn’t good enough and contained too much inappropriate sexual content. Some experts still debate if he really burnt the manuscript or not. Even to this day there is no factual evidence of what really happened, but will remain a part of the history of the novel.

The story itself looks at the way an individual is made up of differing feelings and needs; some good and others evil. An interested lawyer, by the name of Utterson, comes to know of the hideous and fierce Hyde, and his bizarre link with the well-known Dr Jekyll, who later in the story pays out a cheque for Hyde’s (his evil side’s) psychopathic behaviour. Shortly after, an unruly murder takes place, the victim being one of Utterson’s clients, Sir Danvers Carew. To make the situation even more unbelievable, the murder weapon was in fact a cane Utterson had previously given to Jekyll, as a token of friendship. As the book gradually unfolds, the lawyer becomes more and more involved in the strange world of the physician Henry Jekyll, who turns out to have created a drug that is able to separate his good and evil sides. In turn, this makes Jekyll become very likable, but the side effects become disastrous. At first, he can control his craving for his discovery, though sooner he has unrestrained episodes of turning into the monstrous Hyde, his evil side. The book then pursues Utterson as he investigates with Poole (Jekyll’s Butler) of why Jekyll (or Hyde) is spending excessive amounts of time locked away in his laboratory, and not making an appearance for quite a while, and the reasons for his out of the ordinary actions days before. The novel eventually concludes with a tragic and possibly unexplainable end for the first time reader.  

Join now!

Stevenson’s paternal and maternal sides came from two very different backgrounds. His father’s profession was mainly distinguished as a lighthouse engineer and designer, following in the footsteps of his ancestors. However, Stevenson’s mother’s profession was more academic, and his maternal grandfather was also a professor of moral philosophy and later became a minister. Stevenson’s grandmother from his mother’s side would often read to him when he was a child from the Bible or short stories from previous authors.

Even if Stevenson did inherit his joy for adventure and sea quests from his father, he dropped out of the University of ...

This is a preview of the whole essay