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Essay: Jekyll and Hyde: tension, secrets

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
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  • Published: 18 June 2021*
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  • Words: 1,034 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 5 (approx)
  • Tags: Jekyll and Hyde essays

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Question 1 (a) Tension in incident at window

The extract starts with Mr Enfield and Mr Utterson seeing a half-way open window. This straight away creates slight tension as we want to know what is going on inside the room. Rather than saying an open window, pointing out it is only half open presents there may be something to hide in the room, it is not open for everyone to see.
Straight away Stevenson mentions that Dr. Jekyll looks like ‘some disconsolate prisoner’ This shows he had become a physical prisoner as well as a prisoner to his own duality. Stevenson creates tension here as the reader wants to know why he is a prisoner and why he is so locked away from the outside world.
The room is symbolic to the way he has locked away his personality, and the fact he is speaking to them from a closed off room, shows he is keeping his friends at arms length. This creates tension as rather than a normal conversation, Jekyll is locked away in a room therefore we cannot truly see what is going inside the room and at any point he can shut the window and choose not to speak.
After their short conversation with him, Jekyll’s face takes on an expression of ‘such abject terror and despair.’ These two words are both words that show how extremely scared he looked and they are emphasized with the adjective ‘abject’ presenting just how much terror was on his face. They are very harsh, and the reader can only imagine the look of terror on his face, creating tension as we want to know why his mood changed so suddenly.
When Jekyll instantly ‘thrust down’ the window this is a shock as we do not know why he turned from being friendly to suddenly slamming the window shut. It is a sudden shock and the word thrust is a violent word as it involves strength and force meaning he wanted it shut straight away. This shock makes the reader wonder why he turned from friendly to suddenly slamming the window shut.
Enfield and Utterson soon left the court ‘without a word’ and in silence. Silence creates tension as it draws the audience in, creating effective dramatic tension as the longer it carries on the more tension is created.
Overall, tension is created in this extract as the sudden change in Jekyll’s character leaves the readers wanting to know why he changed so suddenly. The dramatic tension is created by the descriptive words, showing the amount of terror on Jekyll’s face, and the shock left on Utterson and Enfield’s faces.

Question 1(b) Secrecy

The ideas of secrecy is a dramatic technique used by Stevenson throughout Jekyll & Hyde. Each character has their own secrets which create lots of conflict and drama. Also, we do not find out most of the secrets until the end of the novel which builds up tension.
At the start of the novel ‘The story of the door’, Stevenson describes the ‘ape like man’ who is some sort of ‘damned juggernaut’ but he does not say who the man is. We are told that the characters find him repuslive but Stevenson keeps Hyde’s identity a secret. This makes the readers intrigued as he has a secretive nature and they want to know who it is.
Stevenson also explains the two doors at the start of the novel. The laboratory door verses the door at the front of Jekylls house. The laboratory door is representative of lots of secrets. The door appears as a very secretive, shut off, no entry door as it does not have a knocker on suggesting the person inside does not want to let anyone in. This suggests secrets being kept as in comparison to the nice, large door at the front of the house it is very evil and unwelcoming.
When Utterson is talking to Jekyll about Hyde, we see Jekyll is trying to avoid the topic as he says he can get rid of Hyde as soon as he wants, trying to end the conversation. Stevenson is presenting secrets in a different way here as he is avoiding talking about what Utterson has brought up. This shows secrets being hidden as when someone is hiding something they might try to not confront their problem. This is effective as when the reader thought they were close to finding out, another mystery is created as Jekyll cuts it off.
At the end in the last chapter, the reader finds out all the secrets truths and the secrets have been hidden until now, even if we suspect what is going on. Jekyll explains he has always felt he has a good and evil side and there is a duality of his life. This created a massive effect of tension throughout the novel as well as suspense for the reader, and it is a good way to end the novel as we are left fully informed.
Stevensons reasoning for secrecy could be to maintain the readers interest in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He uses mysteries to keep the readers wondering and wanting to know more. The secrets come in different ways, from obvious secrets such as Jekyll slamming the window in the extract, to the secretive nature of Hyde.
Stevenson says that there is fog rolling over the city. The fog becomes more prevalent as Utterson realizes Hyde is evil. It symbolizes Hydes personality and as fog prevents people from seeing clearly and no-one truly knows who Hyde is. Each time there is a mystery or an eventful night, the fog rolls over the city. This is effective as fog is known for blocking peoples views, and being cloudy. It is secrets being presented through nature as the readers cannot see the truth.
In conclusion, Stevenson presents secrets as the characters’ own secrets, who people really are and characters secrets to themselves. They are effective as they keep the reader on the edge of their seats and wanting to keep reading to find out what the truth is. It is effective as we are interested in the characters and want to find out more about them

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