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The View Of Human Nature Presented In Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

2814 words - 11 pages

What view of human nature does Stevenson present in the novel The
strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Question: What view of human nature does Stevenson present in the
novel “The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”?

Throughout Stevenson’s life he experienced things by looking at them
in two different perspectives. He later went on to exhibit his
experiences by writing a novel about split personality called “The
strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. This essay will comment and
explain Stevenson’s view of human nature within the novel.

What is human nature? In my opinion human nature is the natural
disposition of a human being, his/her inborn inclination to act, speak
and so on. However, his/her behaviour, social attitudes, thoughts and
concepts of life can be cultivated and nurtured by his/her
parents/guardians.

In the novel “The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” a number of
themes are explored, one of the most important theme is the duality of
human nature and from which the novel is centred. Although we do not
come to terms with the duality until the last chapter when the
Jekyll- Hyde relationship is revealed we confront the theory of a dual
human nature after having witnessed Hyde’s crimes and his ultimate
eclipsing of Jekyll. The text not only posits the duality of human
nature as its central theme but also forces the reader to examine the
root courses of this duality and to think back upon each of the novels
events and relate it to themselves. Duality in many aspects of the
novel features as a device used to intensify the plot.

The novel “the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was written in
1880 in the later part of the Victorian era, when society was sharply
divided into distinct social classes and their corresponding
communities. “Men of high social classes were expected to live
honourable lives [Dr. Jekyll]. They live in smart houses in the rich
west end”, normally the smartest areas of the city. This citation
eludes the most fortunate people of the Victorian era. However, a few
minutes walk from the rich west end laid a completely new London,
SOHO, one of the poorest areas of London. In SOHO “dirty children
roamed past ragged washing in the streets and criminals stalked the
night [Mr. Hyde]”. We can see that the unfortunate community of people
were living in less favourable properties which was unsafe and
deficient to enable comfortable lifestyles similar to that of their
counterparts.

In the novel Victorian England is described through vivid scenes and
the expected morals of society are presented through role models such
as the lawyer (Mr. Utterson). The novel makes numerous references to,
and uses aspects of the Victorian society within its plot. Reputation
and background more than financial status determined the acceptance of
an individual into a society. Appearance was also a factor upon which
people...

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