How does Robert Louis Stevenson create a notion of good and evil in
the strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published in 1886 and
was written after a dream Robert Louis Stevenson had. The story is
mainly a horror but has an element of mystery throughout it. It is a
powerful story with a hidden philosophical outlook on life and
The story has one main theme running through it and other smaller ones
that can only be found by reading between the lines.
The main theme is that of a duality in humans, that we all have hidden
extremes in us, extreme evil and extreme good. Robert Louis Stevenson
focuses on the Extreme evil in this story. The story is set in
Victorian England where society was much disciplined and people were
expected to be either working class or upper class. The working class
were to work and their views not considered, whereas the upper class
were always very rich people who were accustomed to not working and
instead occupied themselves with experiments in the field of science.
This is exactly how the theme of duality is brought into the story, ‘I
learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of life.’
Dr. Jekyll found all this order and expectations to keep a tight upper
lip all too hard to handle, ‘But such as I found it hard to reconcile
with my imperious desire to carry my head high, and wear a more than
commonly grave countenance before the public.’ Despite this Jekyll
stayed quiet and ‘I concealed my pleasures.’
After these years Dr. Jekyll looks back on his life with reflection
and realises that he is wasting his life pleasing society and others.
He says that ‘many a man would have even blazoned such irregularities
that I was guilty of,’ but instead he feels ashamed of it. This is
where one of the other theme comes in, Stevenson is also creating a
desire for freedom, which is what Jekyll craved, the ability to do
what he wants without being judged, something that still hits home
today, we all want to be free from the judgement of society, something
that was all to common in Victorian society.
The story is also about contrast between good and evil, and Stevenson
brings this into the story by his narrative. His narrative creates
this notion of good and evil by telling the story from both
perspectives, good and evil. The good being Mr. Utterson and Dr.
Jekyll and the evil Mr. Hyde. By doing this the story also sounds
more plausible, in that the story isn’t one sided, for if it had being
one sided it would more an opinion than a story. With the story told
from good and evil people’s views we find it easier to believe and it
sounds less biased.
The narrative in the opening chapter, Story of the Door, is told by a
Mr Utterson, we are given a description of Mr. Utterson, ‘Mr. Utterson
was a man of rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile’,
he is also ‘lean, long dusty, dreary and yet somehow...