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The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde Argumentative

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Evil in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is represented in many ways. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was released as a penny number, cheap magazines. In the Victorian times people were fascinated by crime/detective stories which they would link in with Jack the Ripper. The audience expected books to be filled with suspense and mystery, the triumph of good over evil; this is what the novel challenged. Even the title gave a hint of mystery “strange case”. It engages with the religious, moral and scientific mood it was written in, by Stevenson referring to Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. The significance of this is due to religion.

In the Victorian times the 19th Century, a lot of people were Christians and therefore believed that God made the world, and that he created humans, Darwin seemed to say that human beings had evolved from earlier, simpler life forms, such as monkeys and apes. This was obviously hard to believe this as well as the Christian theory; it was quite disturbing for some people: instead of being unique we became just one species among many. Darwin’s theory challenged the authority of the Old Testament. He also refers to Sigmund Freud, by using Freud’s idea of the ego and the alter ego and turned one into Dr Jekyll, the other Mr Hyde.

Stevenson represents evil through the appearance and character of Edward Hyde. According to Mr Enfield “he is not easy to describe,” “There is something wrong with his appearance; something displeasing, something downright detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere; he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I didn’t specify the point.” This means that Mr Enfield could not describe Mr Hyde due to Hyde’s deformity. Stevenson chooses to represent Hyde’s deformity as evil “Pale and Dwarfish,”-meaning he is small ” very plainly dressed”- he does not take care of his appearance, ” husky whispering and somewhat broken voice,”, “secretive,” “shrank back”, “hissing snake like and sly”, “Juggernaut.” Hyde represents Charles Darwin’s theory of Evolution, “Ape-like”, “deformed.” Hyde compared to Jekyll who is “extremely handsome”, “well dressed”, “well spoken”, “smooth faced” is nothing.

Hyde is a definition of evil. In Chapter 1 of the novel, Mr Enfield is describing what he saw when Hyde trampled on the child. The interesting thing is the way and in what mood Hyde was at the time when he trampled on the girl, “for the man trampled calmly over the child’s body and left her screaming on the ground.” Hyde trampled calmly on the girl, it seems to the reader that he was clearly not aware of what he was doing, and he did not even feel himself crush the child. A normal innocent man would have realised what he had done and would have immediately tried to help the girl by seeing what condition she was in, and to see what he could do, not to walk away without a glance back. This suggests to the reader that Hyde has no conscience. In this scene Mr Enfield describes Hyde as a “Juggernaut”.

In Chapter 4, a man by the name of Sir Danvers Carew is murdered by the hands of Hyde for an unknown reason. Edward Hyde did not even know the man. But like Chapter 1 the way in which he murdered Carew is what is interesting, ” ape-like fury,” – this referring to Charles Darwin again, “clubbed,”, “trampled”, these represent anything to do with animal or primitive like in the chapter. “carrying on like a madman” , “mangled”, “flame of anger,”, “broke out of all bounds,” “heavy handed,” “storm of blows,” “audibly shattered,” are describing the brutal violence used. Evil is represented in this by “no motive,” “insensate,” “cruelty,” “flame of anger,”- which is diabolical. Both of these chapters describe Hyde as a Juggernaut, even though it is mentioned in the first chapter and not the fourth, I feel that this describes Hyde in both chapters, as he crushes whatever he sees in his path, whether he knows that person or not.

The Darwinesque descriptions of Hyde in Chapter 4 and elsewhere in the novel tell us about the animal side of Jekyll, as he and Hyde are in the same body, they are the same person, Hyde is the evil side of Jekyll, the person who Jekyll would want to be. “He was wild when he was young; a long while ago,” this quote tells us that Jekyll used to have fun with his friends, he was young then, now he is older and mature he seems to have lost his inner Jekyll, the one who was wild, who loved to have fun with his friends, that is what Jekyll is missing. The novel suggests that Jekyll cannot control Hyde, but the truth is he can’t. Dr Lanyon seems to think that Jekyll’s work is “unscientific balderdash,” he thinks it would separate Damon and Phintias (often known as Pythias), the famous philosophers who were known by their faithful friendship to each other, this shows that Dr Lanyon seems to think that Jekyll spends more time doing his work than being with his friends.

He does not think he is a good scientist, he is supposed to be a doctor. Sigmund Freud’s theory of the unconscious said that the energy behind the instinctual drives of the id is known as the libido which is a generalized force which is basically sexual in nature through which the sexual and psychosexual nature of the person finds expression. In Jekyll’s final Statement, he says that “Yes, I preferred the elderly and discontented doctor, surrounded by friends and cherishing honest hopes; and bade a resolute farewell to the liberty, the comparative youth, the light step, leaping pulses and secret pleasures, that I had enjoyed I the disguise of Hyde.”

This links in with Freud’s theory of problems in the mind are caused by sex, as he enjoys the character of Hyde, and being him, it’s his youth and the fact of doing whatever he wanted whenever he wanted, and nobody could stop him. In Jekyll’s final statement, Jekyll mentions the duality of human nature; this is what it centres upon. This is a vital theme in the novel and it is not actually emerged fully until the last chapter, when the entire story of the Jekyll-Hyde relationship is revealed.

For that reason we face this theory of a dual human nature clearly only after we have seen all the events of the novel which includes Hyde’s crimes and his final cover of Jekyll. Jekyll states that” man is not truly one, but truly two,” and he imagines the human soul as the battleground for an “angel” and a “fiend”, each of them struggling for mastery. But his potion, in which he hoped would separate and purify each element, only succeeds in bringing the dark and evil side into being. Hyde appears but he has not got an angelic corresponding person. Once Hyde is unleashed he slowly takes over until Jekyll dies. If a man is half angel and half fiend, someone would wonder what had happened to the “angel” at the end of the novel.

The novel presents the triumph of evil over good, apposed to good over evil, and if we allow it to come into the open we are in effect allowing it to conquer. In order to oppose evil we have to understand it. Jekyll tries to do this to Hyde, to understand why he commits crimes; why he does the things that he does, for what purpose is he doing this, and again it is the same answer every time, Hyde does all these things because he can do them, because no-one stops him from doing them.

Jekyll’s intentions are good but their consequences are evil. In the novel, Jekyll is a respected man well known to everybody, but within him is a profound evilness released in the shape of Mr Hyde. Stevenson sends out two messages with this, beware the hidden sin and to beware of tampering with nature. His dependence on the “powders” releases Hyde. Harry Jekyll is a moral, decent, hardworking man, but he has always been leading a double life because he always aimed so high, a double life which he did not realise until he ‘meddled’ with science and released the evil spirit within. His fatal flaw could be this, his ambition and determination to reach his target every time. Jekyll wanted respect, honour and distinction to be highly regarded in society and therefore felt he had to hide/disguise any irregularities in his life, this gives the reader a clue to a darker past.

Utterson’s repressions are told at the beginning of the novel, he is a respected and well mannered man, but unlike Dr Lanyon who drinks wine, Mr Utterson drinks gin when he is alone, Utterson enjoys the theatre but he has not been there for twenty years, Utterson seems to have a secret too, when he drank wine “something eminently human beaconed from his eye,” Utterson is a very serious person, Utterson has a face that “never lighted by a smile”, he speaks very little, and he seems ” lean, long, dusty [and] dusty.” Yet somehow he is also “loveable,” and he has many friends. Stevenson gives Utterson that willingness to remain friends with those who have suffered, which leads him to unravel Jekyll’s mystery.

Utterson is the typical Victorian gentleman, he is wealthy and well connected, he is a member of a club for gentleman, he is courteous and polite, and is stern and flexible. Utterson hides his feelings about Jekyll being involved in criminal activities such as blackmail or the sheltering of a murderer, he prefers to not mention anything as it would bring ruin upon Jekyll, which shows in Victorian Society you would hide your feelings and secrets that you came to know. Dr Lanyon is an opposite of Mr Utterson; first of all he is a doctor and chooses to engage in rational materialist science, whereas Utterson is a Lawyer, Lanyon drinks wine, Lanyon is “heart,” “healthy,” “dapper,” and a “red faced gentleman.” Lanyon always tries to be out with show, Utterson is very simple, Lanyon is hospitable and welcoming and Utterson is not. The similarity between them is that they enjoy each others company. Lanyon is the first person who has Jekyll enact his transformations.

Lanyon cannot deal with the way that Jekyll’s experiments have revealed. Within Lanyon he prefers to die than go on living in a world that has been turned upside down, but this is from his point of view. Lanyon who has been chasing knowledge now rejects this latest piece of knowledge that he has gained. He says to Utterson “I sometimes think if we knew all we should be more glad to get away.” Lanyon only holds his feelings to a certain extent, in the quote above Lanyon gives Utterson a little clue into what he is feeling, but not giving it all away. Jekyll also hides his secret about Hyde, as he knows that in those times no one would accept the possibility of this happening. It challenges religion and science. All three of these characters to some extent repress their feelings, as they know that the Victorian Society would not acknowledge and understand it.

Jekyll, Utterson and Lanyon all live in or around Cavendish square, a very wealthy area of London’s West End. Soho, Hyde’s home, is about a mile away from Cavendish Square. The very fact that they live in a “square” symbolises their wealth, in this case the square represents the fact that they are very wealthy. London’s poorer sections are depicted as sinister and threatening. Stevenson focuses on Soho, a poor area of London in the Victorian times. People may have visited Soho’s music halls, brothels, to make crooked deals, or even to go there for cheap eating. Stevenson creates the setting in London, but the ambience is of Edinburgh, the Edinburgh of the Old Town’s dark wynds and closes, where the turn of a corner could in Stevenson’s day, and even now, leave behind the world of surface respectability, and the lingering shades of Burke and Hare, the grave-robbers, Deacon Brodie, who was a cabinet marker by day, but by night he was a criminal.

Soho is a dark, dangerous and a dingy place to be. The city of Soho is also a representation of evil. Fog, dirt, muddiness, gloom, “embattled vapour”, darkness, dismal are all a description of Soho, there is unnatural light and sense of nature is confused as chaos (Hyde) reign, it adds to the sense of mystery, it is the reality of what Soho was like. Light and hearth show that it is trying to shine throughout darkness.” Tramps slouched into the recess and struck matches on the panels,” that shows that they were a lot of homeless people in Soho. “Children kept shop upon the steps.” In particular at night you would probably find beggars, criminals and even prostitutes.

There were areas of squalor in London at this time where the mortality rate was twice the national average. “The growl of London,” suggests that London is a dangerous, wild place. Hyde’s house and other houses in that area had neither bell nor knocker on the front of their door. Hyde’s house has “a blind forehead of discoloured wall.” This shows that the house is just like its occupant, messy, the front door has no bell or a knocker, it is like it has been neglected, that the house is in a poor, bad area. Compared to Jekyll’s house which is a well-appointed home and it has “a great air of wealth and comfort,”

]Jekyll’s lab is described as “a sinister block of building… [which] bore in every feature the marks of profound and sordid negligence” this suggests that the laboratory does not represent Jekyll even though this is his place of experimenting, but of Hyde’s due to the fact that this was where he was born, created. Stevenson cleverly symbolises the house of Dr Jekyll to represent his “innocence” by making it look “respectable and prosperous- looking” which Jekyll is before the incidence with Hyde. Stevenson cleverly disguises the personalities of the two main protagonists by comparing the two buildings.

Stevenson is challenging religion and science by referring to evolution by creating another aspect on life, instead of the Christian belief. He does this by making the physical appearance of Hyde suit Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Stevenson often describes Hyde, as “ape-like” almost like an animal.

Stevenson’s message through the book, through my interpretation, is that evil is within all of us, it is a part of us, it is it is a vice which comes in different forms, anger, greed ego and so on. We can try to conceal it from other people, but eventually it comes out into the open. In other words, humans have two sides, their good side which is on display most of the time, but then they have their evil side, which is almost, like an alter ego.

In Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Stevenson created Jekyll to play the part of the good side, and Hyde to play his part of the evil side, which was let out not by an innocent man, but by a man who wanted to know more than he already did, just like the Adam and Eve story, Eve takes the risk of eating an apple off the tree of knowledge, in the same way Jekyll risks his life to know the truth about science, but in the end it was not worth it, as Jekyll soon realised what the consequences were.

Stevenson also seems to warn us, by not meddling into the unknown and just letting the elements and nature be.

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