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The Age Old Question Of Confronting The Darker Side Of Self

1668 words - 7 pages

There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, `that
it behoves us all not to talk about the rest of us'" (variant: `... that it hardly becomes any
of us to talk about the rest of us'). - Robert Louis Stevenson.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a Victorian gothic novel that explores the age-old
question of confronting the darker side of self in which the society of that time considers
this subject somewhat a taboo. The Victorians were educated to be hypocritical by its
society, masquerading the evil and flaws of men and allowed only to portray the façade
of wellness on the outside. This is a story about an entity - the one who dwells inside
most of us, externally conforming to culture, yet internally lusting for liberty. This story
is not of two distinct individuals that dwell inside one man, but one man with two
impulses roaring to be heard inside of him. In this case, these two inclinations need not be
binary opposites. The well-known basic theme of the novel involves the duality between
good and evil, but it also involves a study in hypocrisy as encompassed by Jekyll and
Hyde. The book has been referred to as "one of the best guidebooks of the Victorian
times," because of its piercing description of the fundamental dichotomy of the outward
respectability and inward lust.
In the beginning, Jekyll is presented as the protagonist and Hyde as the evil one,
the antagonist. Making a young child his first victim in the beginning of the story, Hyde's
cruelty was portrayed. Then, with a series of events that follow, his amoral behaviour was
further displayed. But later on, this presumption is made blurred and distinguishing the
good and evil becomes merely a subjective matter. Jekyll who is supposedly the good one
began to turn "bad" because he denies the fact that he is Hyde. Rejecting the reality,
Jekyll pretends that Hyde was another person although he feels sorry for his actions and
was empathizing with his nature.

Jekyll's primary impulse is fear; he is afraid of his own experiments because it is
through them, he discovers some vital truths about himself. He perceives that every
person would have two different personalities and he wanted to see how each personality
would act without being submitted to the other one. As a result of these experiments, the
wicked part of himself soon separates from within him and with emerges as a "person":
Edward Hyde. His experiments separated his two personalities in a strong way that each
one becomes a separate being living with different realities.

As the experiments were carried on, Jekyll began to trespass the moral barrier and
medical ethics. He violated the foundations of human existence creating a horrific
transformation of personality and physical traits. Hyde is a darker side of Jekyll morphed
through him. Soon, he became a "slave of his own weakness", as all the Victorian men
did: they were "prisoners" of...

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