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The Duality Of Human Nature In The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde By Robert Louis Stevenson

708 words - 3 pages

Crusaders returning home from their battles in the Middle East as early as 1100 were accused of worshipping what the Roman Catholic Church deemed a false deity, Baphomet. This creature enigmatic to the people of Middle Age Europe represented equilibrium of "black energy" and "white energy" in the soul, as well as in nature. There is indeed an apparent duality in the human subconscious. The misconception that these two sides are simply good and evil is commonly accepted by the majority of western society because of Christianity and its tales of seraphs casting down demons intent on committing foul acts. The novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson explores the duality of human nature, which in truth is not simply the good and evil western society clumps everything into. Instead, the duality is simply what society expects us to be, represented by Dr. Jekyll, and our own brutish nature, represented by Mr. Hyde.
Despite his name being in the title, Dr. Henry Jekyll is not the main protagonist of the story, and is only able to narrate in the last chapter of the story, said chapter being a letter he wrote to his lifelong friend the lawyer Mr. Gabriel John Utterson. Dr. Jekyll is a man of class who is considered good and civilized, what one would expect from a scientist from Victorian Society. It is argued that Dr. Jekyll is the heavenly side of the duo, this is false. "The pleasures which I made haste to seek in my disguise were, as I have said, unforgivable." (71). He is simply what society expects men of his status to be, which transitively makes him represent Victorian Society as a whole. Seemingly perfect and civil on the outside with a rotting core describes both the doctor and the Victorian Era. Dresses went down below the ankle, table legs were hidden, just saying the word leg in every day conversation was considered lewd. Despite this, prostitution was rampant yet no one spoke of it. Homosexuality was considered extremely taboo and was never mentioned, and handing out pamphlets on sexually transmitted...

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