How Stevenson Explores the Nature of Good and Evil in the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The story is about a doctor called Jekyll who has an alternate
identity called Hyde. Until the last two chapters it is told from the
view point of Mr Utterson; a friend of Jekyll’s who is trying to piece
together the story. It uses features of gothic novels such as
doppelganger which is an alternate identity. It also uses multiple
narratives to make the reader think, it also helps the reader solve
the case themselves, and piece the story together, from the evidence
given. To a certain extent Stevenson also uses the monster feature in
the form of Edward Hyde. In this novel, Stevenson was trying to show
that good and evil are not separate within us but are a combined part
of us so instead of trying to split them we should except the unity
and only then will we be able to make our good side prevail in the
struggle of good and evil.
One of the features of a gothic novel used is the haunted house.
Authors of gothic novels use a character’s house to reflect the
characters psychological manner.
In this story Jekyll’s house is described as being “grand and having
an air of wealth and comfort”. This mimics Jekyll’s personality as he
is portrayed for the reader,” a large, well-made, smooth-faced man”.
The description “smooth-faced man” gives the impression that he is not
only hiding his age but also the secrets that come with age. We get
the impression that he has something to hide right at the beginning of
the story; I believe that through this Stevenson gives us a hint that
Jekyll has some thing that he wants to keep hidden. His house however
has a backdoor which is described as “blistered and distained”. This,
I believe represents Hyde. It shows just as the backdoor is completely
different from the front, Hyde is the complete opposite of Jekyll. He
is described as “some damned Juggernaut” about him whereas Jekyll is
described as fair. Another way they use doors is to suggest some thing
hidden as in “behind closed doors”. Utterson finds that when Hyde is
staying in Jekyll’s house in his place he stays in the cabinet with
the doors closed to hide him self. I also feel this idea of two sides
is also used to mimic what was going on in Victorian society at that
time. They were pretending to live one way of life while living a
different one altogether.
Many types of gothic novels especially from the Victorian era use the
monsters to represent certain fears of the society.
In the time period this novel was written there were many fears of
using science to try and play God. The Victorians believed you
shouldn’t try and use science to change, or try and duplicate what God
has created. That is why I believe that the monsters that are used in
gothic novels of that time period, such as Frankenstein and this
story, where creations of scientific experiments in which the
scientist tried to play God, have gone awry. In...