The Nature of Duality in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
It has long been debated that there are two sides to the human mind.
Many philosophers have stressed on the fact that human beings are
'dual creatures’. There is the duality of good and evil, right and
wrong, joy and despair. There always is the desire to do something
which is against the society, against the laws, although this varies
from person to person. Robert Stevenson brings the possibility of
another self in one person to life in his creation of Dr. Jekyll and
Mr. Hyde. His novel is a rich tale of the duality of mankind. We all
have a split personality in a sense, we have two sides to us: right
and wrong. There is a Mr. Hyde in all of us: anger, frustration,
murderous thoughts all prevail in us although we have evolved so much.
Morals, education, helping and unselfishness are the Jekyll side of
us. Stevenson believed that people knew they had a bad side, but they
all refuse to accept the truth, as the ‘dark side’ is so unpleasant.
The novel demonstrates how innocent curiosity about the darker
elements of our nature can soon get out of hand, how the evil triumphs
over good if let out of control. Stevenson portrays duality in almost
all of his characters, mainly Dr. Henry Jekyll. The symbols used, the
narrative viewpoints and the language use by Stevenson also puts
forward the dual nature of man. The philosophical context of the
novella also is another factor which Stevenson cleverly uses.
Stevenson creates a novel of gothic genre, which was extremely popular
at the time of release. And the bottom line of the novel is to
entertain the reader. The nature of duality, the philosophical
context, the scientific context, symbolism, and hypocrisy are various
interpretations of the novella.
The character of Dr. Jekyll is coloured with deep shades
of duality. He was a typical Victorian gentleman and is described as a
‘smooth-faced’ and ‘well made man’. He wanted good reputation and was
regarded by everyone as a true gentleman. But deep inside him, he had
the desire to do what he wanted, to go against the rigid rules of the
society. Jekyll wanted to fulfil his desires but at the same time he
wanted freedom from punishment; freedom from a tainted reputation. The
wish to fulfil his secret desires without losing his status and
reputation was his ultimate goal. Thus Jekyll ended up creating Hyde,
which was another identity of his own and he achieved this with the
help of the ‘transforming draught’. Jekyll is a mixture of good and
evil but Hyde is pure evil. Everyone Hyde meets is repulsed by his
appearance. The physical description of both is very contradictory as
well. While Jekyll was a ‘large, well-made’ and a ‘smooth-faced’ man,
Hyde was ‘dwarfish’ and ‘hardly human’. In the beginning, Hyde is
shown to be small in stature but as time passes, Hyde increases in
size as the evil in Jekyll overcomes the good. The two of them had
more of a...