How does Stevenson present the duality of man in the novel Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
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This Gothic Horror follows the story from Mr Utterson’s view. As he tries to discover the relationship between Dr Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde. The story is developed through his conversations and letters. In all characters met in the story, the duality of man is shown by their reactions and what they say and backgrounds of the main characters. An example of this in a character not main, is the officer in the Danvers Carew murder case. At first he is shocked at who’s been killed “Good God, Sir!” but then “his eyes lighted up with professional ambition” the realisation that this is a high profile case and so be good for his career if he solves it.
In that showing us his ‘other side’ he doesn’t matter that someone is dead as long as it helps his career, he shows a selfish side to him. Apart from Jekyll and Hyde there is another pair of names that show R.L. Stevensons theme of the duality of man and they are Mr Utterson and Mr Richard Enfield. Utterson is described as “backward in sentiment, lean, long, dusty, dreary” “cold scanty” a rugged face “Yet somehow loveable” this in the very first sentence introducing the theme of the duality of man.
The novel contains motifs of secrets and things hidden. This idea is brought through by darkness gross darkness of the night”, not been able to see and weather like fog the fog began to lie thickly” making things hard to see/ can’t make out the full picture. Also that things are locked away, locked rooms “Utterson locked the door o his business room…” sealed envelopes “…before him an envelope addressed by hand and sealed with the seal of his dead friend ‘Private: for the hands of J.G. Utterson alone…” if dead “to be destroyed unread” extending to more secrecy. Also at one point describing the streets as “labyrinths” almost saying the path/ route isn’t clear.
The duality of man is hinted at through the corner of the street on which the front of Jekyll’s residence and the neglected, “blistered and distained” place Hyde stayed. The two properties connected via a courtyard. This showing that behind the two different fronts is the same thing (same person). The relationship between Jekyll and Hyde is the main mystery of the story. The potion is Jekyll’s way of escaping from his respectable self to go out and enjoy the pleasure of which would ruin him if people knew. This is a big thing because in the Victorian era it was practically every thing, if someone found out about unrespectable things, it would spread and everyone would know, so you wouldn’t be allowed certain places as people would want to be associated with that person.
These things are only hinted at in the story there is never a mention of such things apart from the murder of Danvers Carew and the trampling of the girl, so it leaves it open to the imagination of the reader also not closing up any possibilities. Also you come across Enfield saying that they could ruin Hyde in the incident of the trampling of the girl, where he says “we would make such a scandal out of this, as should make his name stink form one end of London to the other”. Anyway, Jekyll is “a large, well made, smooth-faced man of fifty with something of a slyish cast perhaps” a subtle hint at duality. Jekyll isn’t a completely good person, he is a mix just like everyone else, however Hyde could be said to be pure evil, as he does not care for his actions so does not feel guilty.
Also this means Jekyll doesn’t feel the guilt from Hyde’s actions, which is one of the things Jekyll wanted and liked about his so called other side to him (Hyde). He could then carry out actions/pleasures without his reputation been affected if he was caught as he would not be recognised. Things such as murder someone they hate, or just for fun, sexual pleasure prostitutes, rent boys or even rape, however Stevenson doe not reveal to the reader what Jekyll/Hyde actually do, its left to the readers imagination.
Stevenson quite frequently hints at the duality of man, some quite subtle, on the other hand he comes out with it in a bold way at one point of the novel. In Jekyll’s full statement of the case he says “Man is not truly one, but truly two.” The duality theory is definitely revealed, however he does go on to say “Others will follow, others will outstrip me on the same lines; and I hazard a guess that man will be ultimately known for a mere polity of multifarious, incongruous and independent denizens”- we are a wide variety of personalities not always matching with each other but we live as one person, we are truly many.