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Duality In Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde School Essay

782 words - 4 pages

How does Robert Louis Stevenson explore the duality of human nature in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?
Throughout the novel ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, the theme of duality is prominent. This main theme is incorporated in each chapter, though expressed through different ways. For example, through the description of Dr Jekyll’s house and in the contrasting natures of Dr Jekyll and his opposite, Mr Hyde. The author, Robert Louis Stevenson was born in the Victorian era and was raised in a strictly religious household where they held the strong belief that man was either good or bad, there was no bond between the two. Stevenson puts forward this ideology that there are dual personalities within human nature in the form of a gothic novella. I believe that through the use of Stevenson using duality, it goes against the constraints of Victorian society and it explores the battle that plays out in every one of us.
Through the contrast of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde being one, appearance vs reality is explored. Jekyll is portrayed as a large, handsome middle-aged man who’s of higher class with a well-respected name as Mr Enfield explains as he retells Mr Utterson a story involving Hyde trampling over a girl, on one of their routine walks ‘… it was a name at least very well-known and often printed’. Jekyll also partakes in ‘charitable’ events, which at the time of the publication of the novel, along with Stevenson’s description, Jekyll would have been perceived as a ‘gentleman’ and nothing less would have been required from him. Mr Hyde, however, is very much the opposite, he is the full embodiment of evil within Jekyll. Jekyll obtained freedom through Hyde as he is someone who is able to fulfil Jekyll’s hidden desires that opposed Victorian society. An example would be Hyde calmly trampling over the girl simply because she was in his way. The word ‘calmly’ highlights the supressed evilness that he is now able to exercise. Throughout the novel, he is often described in animalistic terms such as ‘ape-like’, ‘hardly human’ and ‘troglodytic’. These words suggest that Hyde’s physical attributes and the way in which he presents himself does not conform to society, which may be why when Mr Enfield lays his eyes upon him, he feels a physical response ‘…but gave me one look, so ugly that...

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