The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Essay

2936 Words 12 Pages
The novel ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ was written by Robert Louis Stevenson in the Victorian era, which had a very different culture from today. The book was first published in 1886 in England and it brought success to the author. The Victorians had strict moral codes to live under as middle class people and had to be well respected to be considered as a good person. The character’s reputation emerges throughout the novel as an essential tool to success in the society of the era. Another Victorian value expected of them was to live a life without any sin and to obey the Bible as literalists. However, this only prompted people to keep certain thoughts secluded, behind closed doors instead of eliminating them.

Stevenson explains to the
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‘He came out of his seclusion, renewed relations with his friends, and became once more their familiar guest and entertainer, whilst he had always been known for his charities’ shows the good side of Jekyll through the charity work he does and he is respected in Victorian society. He is a wealthy man and lives in comfort in a good house with loyal servants. On the surface, he is the epitome of the Victorian gentleman. Though he has a dark side, he harbours secret passions. Jekyll is not supposed to represent pure good, rather, the whole of a person. The heights of virtue and the depths of vice are both extremes Jekyll possesses. From the start of the story, Jekyll is aware of this dual nature. Knowing this, he concocts a potion that will change him into two separate beings. Unintentionally and unfortunately, this potion did not separate and purify him, but only succeeds into bringing out his dark side. Consequently, he becomes more and more reserved throughout the novel.

Therefore, Hyde is formed and introduced with a free will, which is, ironically, opposing and mocking the Victorian culture. Stevenson makes clear the evil of Hyde by describing him as the morally deformed, wild and animalistic form that is within Jekyll, a respectable doctor. Stevenson portrays this evil side of Jekyll as a reversion of human nature to an ape-like creature and is saying that everybody consists of good and evil, even the respectable

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