Duality Of Duality In Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

1101 Words 4 Pages
According to the statement, humankind tries to suppress their primal desires such as “revenge, conquest, lust and greed” but these attempts will always be contended by our inherent bestial nature. Referred to as ‘The Beast Within’, our dark side has been heavily featured within literature since time immemorial, which only substantiates our perverse (albeit secret) attraction to it. Throughout time the representation of ‘The Beast Within’ has evolved in literature, from biblical myths such as ‘Cain & Abel’ and the ‘Epic Of Gilgamesh’, wherein a character has lapsed from good and succumbed to their evil impulses; to modern renditions, such as the TV show ‘Dexter’, wherein the character revels in his dark side. However, the core conventions of …show more content…
Set in a dark urban landscape in Victorian England, the tale is of a man named Henry Jekyll who secretly leads a double life as a highly-esteemed doctor and a serial killer; the former embodies virtue whilst the latter is the epitome of evil. The duality of Jekyll is a key element of ‘The Beast Within’. At first, Jekyll attempts to separate his evil side through supernatural means in order to maintain his virtuous facade. The diametric opposition between the two alter egos is conveyed in the text through contrast. For example, Henry Jekyll is described as embodying virtue and decorum - core values of Victorian society, in “a large, well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty … every mark of capacity and kindness.” Jekyll engaged in “philanthropic work” and was “a man who could afford to laugh at suspicion”. Conversely, Hyde is described as “hardly human! something troglodytic”. According to the concept of physiognomy (which was popular at the Victorian epoch), the physical description of Hyde insinuates that he is a criminal, which is indicative of his depravity and warped ethics. Supporting this premise are the two scenes in which Hyde’s bloodlust drives him to commit violence against innocents. Surrounding these exploits, Stevenson uses pathetic fallacy to reflect the ominous nature of Hyde, as conveyed in “under …show more content…
In fact, it wouldn’t remain a long-standing theme if humankind wasn’t entertained by it - this is corroborated by the sheer success of texts that feature ‘The Beast Within’. Notable is the TV series ‘Dexter’ (2006), which centres on the eponymous man who is a blood analyst by day and serial killer by night. Despite the audience’s awareness of Dexter’s murderous tendencies, which are revealed through internal monologue, Dexter manages to enthrall the audience rather than repulse them, which makes clear that humankind secretly revels in ‘The Beast Within’. This is due to the normalized way the show portrays Dexter’s charming affront, as is characteristic of the modern-day ‘Beast Within’. For example, one particular scene portrays Dexter in a subfusc room where he has prepared a victim for dismemberment; the oblique shot gives a full view of the horror of Dexter’s work. The scene then cuts to a long-shot view of Dexter riding leisurely in a boat on a sunny day. Old-fashioned non-diegetic music is playing in the scene, which creates a pleasant, carefree atmosphere. Whilst Dexter is clearly portrayed as a murderer, he is also portrayed as the guy next door who is endearing, charismatic and sociable. It is this appealing portrayal that wins over the audience’s sympathies. Moreover, the show

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