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Stevenson And Conrad: The Duality Of Human Nature

1001 words - 5 pages

The Victorian Age marked a period of immense transition in many aspects of human life. In 1859 Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, a work that opposed the traditional way of perceiving religion. Candyce Klin author of “Darwinism as A Cultural Issue”, states that The Origin of Species proposed the theory that all living creatures had to compete within their own preconditions in order to survive. This may be why the controversial issue of the duality of human nature has been found at the heart of many Victorian works. The theme of the duality of man can be found in the works of two famous English authors, Robert Louis Stevenson and Joseph Conrad. Stevenson and Conrad both ...view middle of the document...

Enfield, Dr. Lanyon, and Dr. Jekyll. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde represents the duality of man by devising an eloquent metaphor for man’s divided nature. Dr. Jekyll, a Victorian scientist, confesses that he is an “incongruous compound” of good and evil and is stimulated by the idea of dual personalities (Stevenson 1678). Through his experiments, Dr. Jekyll, separates the good and the evil aspects of himself into two different identities, each with a body and personality of its own. The “good” Dr. Jekyll and the “evil” Mr. Hyde who once resided within Dr. Jekyll.
The theme of human duality is initially evident through the subject manner of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In this novella the duality of human nature is distinctly addressed in the epiphany that Mr. Hyde is actually Dr. Jekyll and contrariwise. Dr. Jekyll, by mixing several chemicals together, has achieved his goal; he has detached the good and the evil facets of himself into two different identities. This is exemplified when Mr. Hyde mixes and than drinks the chemicals in front of Dr. Lanyon:
He put the glass to his lips and drank at one gulp. A cry followed; he reeled, staggered, clutched at the table and held on, staring with injected eyes, gasping with open mouth; and as I looked there came, I thought, a change—he seemed to swell— his face became suddenly black and the features seemed to melt and alter—and the next moment, I had sprung to my feet and leaped back against the wall, my arm raised to shield me from that prodigy, my mind submerged in terror. "O God!" I screamed, and "O God!" again and again; for there before my eyes—pale and shaken, and half-fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death— there stood Henry Jekyll! (Stevenson 1675).
Unfortunately Dr. Jekyll’s mixture, rather than separating and proportionating these forces, only allows for one side to be present at a...

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