The Relevance of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson Today
The novel Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson.
It was written in 1886. It was set in Victorian society in London.
Stevenson was Scottish and came from a strict protestant background.
The genre of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is gothic horror. Stevenson was
fascinated about the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution
suggests that we were once ape-like creatures, this upset many
religious people. Many Christians believed that we came from Adam and
Eve. Christians didn't like the fact that we were once animals, they
thought it suggested negative things. This suggests that man has two
sides, a good side and a beast-like side. This is incorporated in the
novel. This book was written in Victorian England. In Victorian
England there was a belief in physiognomy, this means your character
was reflected in how you look. In Victorian England there were high
moral standards, if these high moral standards were not followed you
could be isolated from the society. There was also a belief that evil
only exited in sick individuals. The themes of the novel are good
verses evil and duality, this symbolises the society of the time. An
example of this is Jack the Ripper; he was a serial killer who never
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is about repressed desires and what happens when
we deny our bad side. It looks at a doctor called Dr Jekyll who feels
restricted in society so he takes a potion to relieve pressure however
this reveals his bad side and releases the beast within him.
Some elements of this novel seem coincidental. For example when
Utterson was reading the letter from Dr Jekyll right next to the
handwriting expert called Mr Guest. This plot is there do the plot can
move on fluently.
The narrative structure in the novel is achronological, however the
book starts in chronological order. This informs the reader why Jekyll
would want to be another person. The last chapter "Henry Jekyll's Full
Statement of the Case" gives us information about events before the
opening chapter of the book.
Stevenson uses various narrational techniques. One narrational
technique that Stevenson uses in this novel is dialogue. An example of
dialogue is in chapter two when Utterson is talking to Dr Lanyon about
Dr Jekyll. Another narrational technique which Stevenson uses in the
novel is multiple narrators. An example of this is when Utterson is
reading the letter from Dr Lanyon. It may be Utterson reading the
letters but it is Dr Lanyon telling his side of the story. The novel
starts in third person narrator and ends in first person narrator.
Stevenson wants us to trust Utterson because Utterson is a lawyer who
is narrating the story, also because Utterson is reliable. He also
wants us to trust Utterson...