Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson Essay
This novella, although unapparent, is intertwined with many allegorical undertones. Stevenson uses the book to criticise Victorian society and its hypocritical existence. The most significant thematic concern of the novella is the continually revisited theme of the duality of man and the camouflaged evil that lies deep within the human race.
Stevenson was writing before the period in which the great psychologist Sigmund Freud was researching the human mind, so in some ways Stevenson was ahead of his time in resolving the 'mystery of the mind'. Stevenson's novella, after being added to by his wife on the book's revision, contained much evidence of these theories of the
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Stevenson not only uses Jekyll and Hyde to communicate the theme of duality; he reinforces his point by compounding hidden metaphors into the text. The first time we can identify this is in the first chapter.
The street presented is described as an ordinary London street whose shop fronts are like "rows of smiling women", their brightness contrasts to that of the run-down street. The same type of contrast is made, more importantly with Jekyll's house; it is described as a house that "bore in every feature the marks of a prolonged and sordid negligence". In contrast to the disrespectful neighbourhood it stood in, Jekyll's house was more than a house; it was in parallel to the
Jekyll/Hyde relationship. There was the respectable side of the house and then the bleak and neglected side. This strange choice of neighbourhood can be interpreted as reflecting the insecure hold that
Jekyll had on decency, even before he played God with the potion.
The Carew Murder Case is intertwined with the theme of duality. The scene is set with an innocent girl