Transformation / survival – Jekyll & Hyde / Lord of the Flies

How is “transformation and or survival” depicted in two of the works you have studied and what is its significance? The transformation in both novels of the characters shifting from good to a darker twisted evil version of themselves, the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (text 1) and Lord of the flies … Read more

Utterson state of mind

In this extract Utterson is presented by Stevenson as an individual in a contradicting state of two minds, who is also very concerned for his close friend Mr Jekyll. Stevenson describes Utterson’s imagination as ‘engaged, or rather enslaved’ as his mind is restless from thinking about this ‘human Juggernaut’ in the name of Hyde. This … Read more

How monsters are depicted: Get Out (discriminations), Jekyll (psychological fluctuations), Frankenstein (darkened side of moralities)

The terminology of the “monster” formerly often relates to a creature that has a deformity physical appearance. The monsters are often described to have a disgusting, detestable and abominable appearances with the supernatural power that can control everything as well as they can create a massacre to destroy violently everything getting in their ways. However, … Read more

American Psycho and Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde: two sides of man, good and evil

In both texts, ‘American Psycho’, and ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, the writers successfully explore characterisation as the main character displays a “two-sided” idea of man: good and evil. In ‘American Psycho’, the main character Patrick Bateman, appears to be an intelligent, handsome, wealthy man. He is publicly viewed as being a perfectly sane individual … Read more

 About Jekyll and Hyde

“The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson is a typical novella that was written during the late Victorian era, where there was rather pessimism than optimism, industrialization, and urbanization. Common characteristics that are present in this work are gothic fiction, double identities, and the dark side of society.

Firstly, characteristics of gothic fiction are present throughout the entire novella, as Mr. Hyde is a murderer, which can be seen on page 27 for example, where he murders another man. “And then all of a sudden he broke out in a great flame of anger, tampering his foot, brandishing the cane, […] under which the bones were audibly shattered and the body jumped upon the roadway” (l. 10-19). Not only did he murder people, but he also did other horrible things such as trampling over a child, which can be seen on page 6: “for the man trampled calmly over the, child’s body and left her screaming on the ground” (l.11-13).

Furthermore, all descriptions of Mr. Hyde are rather creepy. There are various descriptions in the book and he is always referred to as deformed, small and dislikable, as can be seen on page 19, where Utterson sees Mr. Hyde: “Mr. Hyde was pale and dwarfish, he gave an impression of deformity without any nameable malformation, he had a displeasing smile” (l. 10-12). This description and the dark incidents indicate gothic factors.

Secondly, it is important to mention that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are the same person. While Dr. Jekyll has always been present, Mr. Hyde becomes his second identity. In the chapter “Henry Jekyll’s Full Statement of The Case” Jekyll describes having two sides and stated that, “that man is not truly one, but truly two” (p. 74, l. 16). He then mentions inventing a drug, that could turn him into Mr. Hyde (p. 76, l. 1-8). Mr. Hyde is Dr. Jekyll’s “evil side” (p. 77, l. 29). All of this suggests, that Dr. Jekyll can use his second identity to let out his evil self. However, he soon starts to struggle with choosing which identity might be better for him and thus he slowly goes insane until he kills himself, as he can no longer control Mr. Hyde. An example can be found on page 84, where he is unsure if he can keep his control: “I began to spy a danger that, […] the power of voluntary change be forfeited, and that the character of Edward Hyde become irrevocably mine” (l. 7-11). On page 96, he dies. “I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end” (l. 7).

Additionally, the influence of gothic fiction and this double identity represent the dark side of society as well. An example would be on page 6, where a child is being trampled over. “All at once, I saw two figures: one a little man who was stumping along eastward at a good walk, and the other a girl of maybe eight or ten who was running as hard as she was able down a cross street. Well, sir, the two ran into one another naturally enough at the corner; and then came the horrible part of the thing; for the man trampled calmly over the, child’s body and left her screaming on the sound” (l. 6-13). This seems like a selfish act and could indicate that human beings are often too focused on themselves and neglect other people’s needs. The description “little man” and of course this behavior, also fits Mr. Hyde.

In conclusion, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson includes typical characteristics of the late Victorian age with a primary focus on gothic, double identities and the dark side of society, as the late Victorian era focused on negative impacts and darkness and is thus a great example for the Victorian age.

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