Lady Macbeth In Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

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For the purposes of the essay, I am going to be interpreting the term ‘villainous’ as the perception of Lady Macbeth and Mr Hyde as sinful and immoral characters by the Victorian and Jacobean audience. The concept of “Macbeth” played on ideas such as the divine right of Kings, the supernatural as well as the expected role of women in society. Whereas in "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”, Stevenson used the position of Hyde as a representation of Dr Jekyll’s disreputable desires as a way of demonstrating the Victorian compromise. Both authors have therefore left the readers with such questions: are repressed desires villainous or is Lady Macbeth perceived as more villainous by the Jacobean audience for she is a female?
In “Macbeth”
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Lady Macbeth uses deception as a way of being able to persuade others into believing things that are not true. In Act 2 Scene 3, Lady Macbeth was able to make others believe that she is a “gentle lady” and that she should not be engaging in the discussion regarding the death of Duncan. Shakespeare uses dramatic irony here as Lady Macbeth should not be listening about the murder but instead she is the one who planned it. This deception of her true character therefore highlights her villainy to the Jacobean audience.
Stevenson’s description of Hyde’s home can illustrate the theme of secrecy in the novella as Hyde’s home “showed no window”. Victorian men are associated with having led a double life due to the expectations of society which caused them to repress any desires. Thus by blocking out the eyes of society, it allows for the committal of the darker desires. Furthermore, as light symbolises good, and a lack of it is being let into the house, it gives the impression of ominous behaviour occurring behind closed doors. Therefore, to a Victorian audience, Hyde is seen as villainous for he is essentially leading a double life, which is frowned upon by Victorian

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