Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, By Robert Louis Stevenson

896 words - 4 pages

The depravity of man knows no bounds. However, neither are the positive qualities of man confined to the finite. For every virtue there is a sin. Every man is a playground for demons and angels alike. Robert Louis Stevenson illustrated this dual nature of a man in his novella Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll was the embodiment of success but like any bourgeois man struggled desires that violated the strict social mores and taboos of the Victorian age (Cohen 2). Three ways in which the dual nature of man is illustrated by Stevenson are, the development Dr. Jekyll's scientific thesis, Mr. Hyde's contrasting physical, mental, and moral attributes, and Dr. Jekyll's loss of control over Mr. Hyde.

Stevenson illustrates the duality of man by describing Dr. Jekyll's inner turmoil which eventually lead to the creation of his scientific thesis. Before Mr. Hyde was to come into existence Dr. Jekyll fought with what seemed to him contrasting proclivities. Since his birth he battled his inclination towards “gaiety of disposition” (Stevenson 64). He was wrought with desires to set aside responsibilities and act in an insouciant manner. Nevertheless, the burden of social norms, his desire to “carry his head high” (Stevenson 64), and meet expectation forced him to conceal his pleasures. Years go by under the oppression of his repression until that time in which Dr. Jekyll reaches the “years of reflection” (Stevenson 64). It is during this time Stevenson further illustrates the dualism of Dr. Jekyll indirectly by painting him as a chemist interested in the science of “mystic and the transcendental” a coupling of polar extremes science verses spiritual. During Dr. Jekyll's time reveling in reflection he has an epiphany. That morally man is not a singular being wrestling with conflicting motivations but two distinct individuals vying for control of the consciousness. This very plainly illustrates the duality of man. It is also the basis of Dr. Jekyll's theory that he can wrest the physical form of this phantasm from his conscious through the creation and consumption of a chemical potion.

The duality of man is further illustrated when Dr. Jekyll successfully invokes the personage of Mr. Hyde. It is here that mans unsavory tendencies are personified. Physically Hyde is repulsive, deformed in someway that is best described as an “obstacle to expression” (Williams 412). However Dr. Jekyll as Mr. Hyde is not displeased with Mr. Hyde's visage. He accepted his countenance as something natural that was himself as well. Mr. Hyde is also described as short in stature, younger, and malformed. It is hypothesized by Dr. Jekyll that the reason for this is that his whole life he had repressed this...

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