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The Duality Of Human Nature Essay

1038 words - 5 pages

In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson expresses the concept of the duality of man. Using gothic literature, he depicts the idea of man’s doubled nature. Stevenson demonstrates through the character Henry Jekyll the duality of human nature and the constant battle of good and evil inside all individuals.
In Victorian society, maintaining a good reputation is of utmost importance (Perkins 207). For instance, Dr. Henry Jekyll always focuses on pleasing society to sustain his high social standing (209). He continually donates his time to his friends, church, and various charities (208). As most individuals do, Jekyll alters his personality to fit the situation he is in (Saposnik 88). As the novel progresses, Jekyll realizes, “With every day, and form both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to that truth, by whose partial discovery I had been doomed…that man is not truly one, but truly two…” (Stevenson 68). Jekyll’s realization of possessing multiple personalities initiates his idea that there could be a way to separate his two sides (Oates 210; Saposnik 93). With a goal to remove evil from his community life, Jekyll initially seems to have good intentions; however, morality becomes a temptation (Perkins 208). The doctor quickly becomes consumed in his scientific work to create a way to completely isolate his evil. His longing to create a concoction to split his personality cause him to forget his loyal friends, who begin to think the Jekyll has gone mad (Stevenson 35). When Jekyll finally concocts the potion to separate his good and evil, this power becomes a temptation catalyzing the growth of evil within him (Perkins 208; Stevenson 73).
Jekyll’s success in disentangling his evil transforms him into Edward Hyde who is the representation of his sinful side (Oates 210). Jekyll states, “I knew myself, at first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil.” (Stevenson 70-71). One of the many distinguished difference between Jekyll and Hyde is that Hyde appears to be smaller in stature and younger than Dr. Jekyll (Oates 211; Stevenson 71). Hyde’s undeveloped appearance is due to the fact that Jekyll’s evil has been mostly suppressed from the outside world. (Oates 211). Jekyll thinks that he will be able to remove Hyde instantaneously at his choice like a flip of a switch (210). The ability of transformation brings on an abundance of freedom, which leads to numerous temptations (Perkins 209). He now has the ability to do whatever he wants freely in the disguise of Hyde, while still maintaining a high-standing reputation as Dr. Henry Jekyll (Thomason 199). He begins committing crimes as Hyde, such as assaulting the innocent, young girl on the street (Stevenson 4). Soon, Jekyll becomes addicted to transforming into his alter ego (Oates 210). The evil has been hidden for too long and begins to overtake his...

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