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The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde By Robert Louis Stevenson

1553 words - 6 pages

The story “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson conveys the theme of duality in nature in which man is fighting himself, or in this case, another version of himself. Being a psychology major, it is interesting to see a case this serious over how an alter ego can control the main psyche up to the point where it no longer conveys influence, but instead manipulation. In order to understand the control an alter ego can eventually have on the individual, it is important to comprehend exactly what an alter ego is and how an individual can lose dominance over it.
A common misconception with this story is the readers’ belief that Dr. Jekyll suffers from schizophrenia. Schizophrenia (also called dementia praecox) is a psychotic disorder characterized by progressive deterioration of the personality, withdrawal from reality, hallucinations, delusions, social apathy, and emotional instability. In layman’s terms, someone who suffers from schizophrenia is born with this disease and believes they hear voices, or see images, in their minds commanding them to complete certain tasks. They have no idea who the voices are or when they came to exist, but eventually they give into the demands in order to silence the voices. Subsequently, they withdraw themselves from society in the process. These symptoms do not accurately match up with the symptoms of Dr. Jekyll. Dr. Jekyll did extract himself towards the end of the story only because he could no longer manipulate his transformations. Nothing in the story reveals him being born with such a disease. Due to this, he cannot be classified as a schizophrenic.
Another universal misconception is that Mr. Hyde is Dr. Jekyll’s split personality. This seems comprehensible due to the fact that Dr. Jekyll’s psyche was divided between him and Mr. Hyde. Yet this is not what afflicted Dr. Jekyll. Someone who suffers from split, or multiple, personality generates their personality or personalities unconsciously. Typically, the personality is created during a traumatic event in order to unearth a means to separate themselves from the pain felt during the incident. In order to suppress the ache, their psyche splits into two where one psyche consumes the pain and evil while the main psyche suppresses it. Furthermore, personality requires more than the frontal lobe to operate. In order to function, personality uses the frontal lobe to maintain personality while also utilizing the temporal lobe to balance the emotions of each personality. To do this, one personality has to repress the other in order to manifest itself. Because of this, when another personality takes over, the main psyche cannot recall any events that occurred when the other personality had taken over, or when the transition between psyches took place. They also have no recognition of the existence of other personalities unless told by a third party. Dr. Jekyll was aware of the presence of Mr. Hyde within him and could manipulate...

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