Nature Vs Nurture In The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde

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Do the pressures of society and external influences determine one’s disposition, or is everyone born with his or her own good and evil tendencies? The novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde establishes and discusses the question of nature versus nurture. The author, Robert Louis Stevenson, prompts the reader to inquire how an individual can determine his or her place on the spectrum of good and evil. To establish the universal struggle between good and evil, Stevenson introduces the character Dr. Jekyll, a scientist who lives in the Victorian era. Restricted by the rigid standards of society, Jekyll hides his disreputable pleasures in order to abide by the strict Victorian customs. Dr.Jekyll forces the reader to wonder whether …show more content…
Under the disguise of his new appearance, Jekyll acquires the name Edward Hyde. Hyde, who is not expected to behave in a polite or pleasant manner, is free to act however he chooses without the fear of judgement. In this way, Stevenson presents a character that relished in his new freedom that he acquires while under a disguise. Hyde’s features and stature “gave an impression of deformity”, yet Jekyll is delighted by his newfound appearance. While in the body of Hyde, he is “conscious of no repugnance, rather of a leap of welcome”. From this it is understood that Jekyll greatly enjoys this transformation and relishes in the freedom that it provides. Stevenson further reinforces the idea that Jekyll delights in the liberation that his disguise grants him. Jekyll could “plod in the public eye with a load of genial respectability, and in a moment, like a schoolboy, strip off these lendings and spring headlong into the sea of liberty.” Without the need to adopt the honorable character that is expected of Jekyll, Hyde is free to commit any crime without damaging Jekyll’s reputation. Hyde could simply drink the potion once more in order to transform back into Jekyll. Through Hyde, Jekyll could channel his shameful desires without the fear of …show more content…
It is his choices, not the pressures of society, that determined Jekyll true character.Though he is promised a successful future at a young age, his dishonorable desires lead to his demise. The pressures of the Victorian era develop the gentlemanly side of Jekyll’s nature, but his disreputable inclinations evolve the corrupted side of his character. Jekyll cannot be defined as good or evil, for his disposition constantly evolves depending on the choices he makes. Inevitably, it is the choices an individual makes that determine whether he or she is good or evil. However, because choices are constantly being made, one’s place on the spectrum of good and evil varies and cannot be consistent. Neither an inertly good character nor an inertly evil character can be achieved, for the choices people make and the ways in which they interact determine their dispositions. A character’s nature is decided solely by his or her own decisions, and each character constantly shifts along the spectrum of good and evil. Because Jekyll’s fate is determined only by his lack of self control, it is inferable that choices and willpower determine whether or not one will fall victim to his or her own dishonorable

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