How Successfully Does Stevenson Present Evil and Create Tension In “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”?


Mr. Utterson is a high-class London lawyer, who, throughout the story, is put across as the detective who follows up the mystery of Jekyll and Hyde. Set in the Victorian era, Dr. Jekyll creates a horrifying alter ego, which takes over the good-natured Dr. Jekyll, and turns him into an evil man who doesn’t care about anything or anyone. Mysteries take place throughout the book, such as who killed the MP, Sir Danvers, and, what does Dr. Jekyll really get up to in his personal study? Dreadful revelations arise, and Mr. Utterson is left with the will and confessions of Dr. Jekyll. Many questions are thrown up in the story, about the human race and evil. Also the question, why had the Victorian society have a set thought in all their minds that any science is evil? As it does the unnatural. Everybody thought that every person has an evil person inside them and at some point in their life, their evil side will be revealed in one way, or another. My essay will include explanations why and how Robert Louis Stevenson presents evil, and how he creates tension throughout “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.
In the book, the Victorians saw Mr. Hyde as an evil person, because of the way he treated people, and the way he never acknowledged the people he knew when he saw them. A lot of people saw him trample over a small girl in the middle of a street, so when they saw him, they felt “hatred and disgust”, and could feel the eerie evil and nastiness about him. The book described Hyde as being “monster-like” and “like some damn juggernaut”. When Hyde barged the small girl, she started crying, but Hyde just carried on walking straight over her like she wasn’t there. This shocked people to see such a dreadful thing, and many people made their minds up about what they thought of Mr. Hyde when they had witnessed that event.


Jekyll is described as a respectable man, higher class, and follows religion like most of the higher (and lower) class did in the Victorian era. Hyde is described as having a totally different stature to Jekyll. He is small and stump who has a gruff voice and who always had an evil expression.


On page eighty-six of the book, Jekyll wakes up in the morning to discover that he is in the form of Mr. Hyde. He describes his hand by quoting; “the hand that lay on my knee was corded and hairy”. This may be thought of as an evil quote, in the manner that animals are hairy, but humans are not, and if Jekyll is evolving into the form of an animal, it could mean science is involved. In the Victorian era, science was thought of as evil, as it was an unnatural way of dealing with issues. He is also putting across that Hyde is taking on an animal instinct, which would be similar to monsters. In that certain era, monsters were also classed as evil. In Stevenson’s view, evil is also hurting people.


Robert Louis Stevenson puts across that science, in a certain shape or form, is evil when messed with, exactly like what Mr. Jekyll is doing, swapping and changing the form of his body. The writer also includes that when Mr. Utterson sees Hyde, he is repulsed, and likens Hyde’s appearance to Satan.


In chapter four, a maid witnesses Mr. Hyde clubbing and beating an old man until he is dead. This may show that the book could be a murder mystery, but also a horror with Hyde beating someone to death, and looking like Satan, as Utterson thought.


In the last chapter of the book, Dr. Jekyll concludes that everyone is made up of both good and evil. Hyde, alone in mankind, is pure evil. You realise this point, right near the start when he tramples down the young girl.


Stevenson uses quite a bit of tension throughout the book, to keep the reader gripped. The chapter which is called “The Last Night”, has a lot of tension in it. Mr. Poole fetches Mr. Utterson to go and see Dr. Jekyll, because he