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A Complete Essay On Dr Kekyll And Mr Hyde.

1209 words - 5 pages

The public self and the private self maintain a relatively stable balance in every man, woman, and child. This ubiquitous equilibrium scarcely arouses suspicion, nor does it stimulate conversation. Why should it? Balance has no cause to elicit a response. Do fire alarms alert us when no fire is present, just for the sake of our self-assurance? On the contrary, like many other situations that are regularly in a state of homeostasis, the balance of privacy and community (and actions committed therein) only receives attention when exceedingly out of alignment. Now, one must say to oneself, "That's all fine and good. But who sets the rules of equilibrium? Who decides alignment? Who says that fires are out of the ordinary, havoc and mayhem not standard?" Well, equilibrium does not necessarily imply serenity or the absence of peril. Only when tranquillity is the tried-and-true norm does it become the standard for balance. In hell, fire is the norm. Equilibrium is only supplanted when a fire goes out. Maybe they have alarms for that.Onward to addressing my problem of whom establishes balance for the rest of us. In the actual world, we learn through trial and error what is regular and what is fluke, to establish our own ideas of what is customary. In literature, for the reader to become oriented, they must search for clues as to the equilibrium of the setting. What is normal? What is out of the ordinary? In Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the reactions of his characters provide the reader with a backdrop of that reality. When events start to go askew, we look to these characters to show us just how far askew. Utterson serves as a neutral facilitator to obtain for the reader this feedback. Stevenson first establishes these characters as reliable, and then relies on their reactionary movements (testimony and actions) to illustrate the intensity of man's dual natures. It is in these reactions that the reader can discern just how ordinary or outlandish the actions committed by Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde really are. It also offers an outlet for the comparison of Jekyll/Hyde's actions (as a variable) to the morals and attitudes of society (as a constant.)Primarily, it is important to note that Jekyll's (and not Hyde's) nature is, for our purposes, the norm. Stevenson places the Jekyll persona at a completely neutral position (think 7 on the ph. scale) and so all other actions are divergent. The actions of the Hyde persona deviate greatly from what Stevenson has established through characters such as Poole and Dr. Lanyon as Jekyll's basic nature.Not a single character in the novel reacts favourably to Hyde. Whether he is seen as a departure from Jekyll's balance, or only in relation to himself, he is looked at as vile. For the purpose of this essay, I am only interested in character reactions to Hyde, which stem from the fact that he breaks the equilibrium of Jekyll's life. In other words, I'm looking for characters that react to Hyde as an evil...

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