The theme of Dual Nature of Man
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The theme of Dual Nature of Man
The theme of dual nature of man is a recurring theme in Jekyll and Hyde . Stevenson presents this theme through a wealthy physician who creates an alter-ego, Hyde, to rid himself of his desires. Before Hyde was created, Jekyll felt as if he was living a double life. At day he is a gentleman who is respected greatly by society; at night he commits lustful acts to fulfil his desires . Jekyll neede d someone to hide the evil acts ; this is where Hyde is created. Stevenson demonstrates that man has two sides, one made up of good and one of pure evil , through Jekyll and Hyde.
Duality is presented in many ways, one way is through the setting and how Stevenson describes places. Jekyll's house is a large town house with an "open fire" in the front hall. This can suggest that Jekyll is warm and we lcoming, it could also infer his wealth and how he likes to display it. Hyde , on the other hand, almost lurks in the shadows and does not like to interact with one another, the lab he "lives in" has the windows covered and the door had no handle. The windows could give the idea that Hyde may have something to hide and doesn't want anyone to interfere with his business. This would create a sense of tension and mys tery for the Victorian audience as they would want to know what Hyde has to hide.
Another way Stevenson presents duality in Jekyll and Hyde is through physical description. According to Stevenson there are two sides in man, one good and one evil, Jekyll suits the good character while Hyde suits the evil tyrant. In this novel, Jekyll is illustrated as an ambitious and respectable man. Jekyll behaves in a way expected by the Victorian society and carries a "head high", he also is "fond of the respect" people give him. Meanwhile, Hyde comes to characterize the embodiment of pure evil. Utterson takes a "deep loathing" into Hyde at first sight and can "read Satan's signature" upon his face, this exemplifies the strong feelings and hatred Hyde causes towards the Victorian society. Hyde is merciless as he bludgeons Sir Carew for no reason and takes a delight in it; he is also strange as he gives "an impression of deformity". This would link back to early scientific ideas which started to evolve and challenge long-held Christian beliefs, a theory where some people believed that criminals could be identified by the shape of their head. This would cause alarm in the audience as crime rates were high , with criminals like Jack the Ripper , and there were a lot of uncaught criminals. Stevenson intends to show how chaotic the Victorian society was.
In the Victorian era, there were many scientific ideas evolving which challenged old beliefs. Victorians did not fully understand, and had very little knowledge of science. Jekyll was a doctor who liked to mix religion and science together whereas his former-friend, Dr Hastie Lanyon, kept them separate. An early scientist, Sigmund Freud, stated that all beings had two sides, one would be their normal side and the other would be their wild side. Jekyll is depicted in a way where he applies to the theory, but he wants to have a clean reputation so he does "transcendental" work to create Edward Hyde. Jekyll proves to his former-friend, Dr Lanyon, that you can combine science and religion by transforming himself into Hyde, Lanyon is realizes that all these years his beliefs were false and dies later on due to the shock of Jekyll's godly work.
Stevenson repeatedly uses animalistic language to describe Hyde, "ape-like fury". This could infer his wild side according to Freud's theory. Charles Darwin proposed a theory where all humans evolved from apes; this proposition had the society confused and angry as most Victorians were religious and didn't like these ideas which opposed God, this was called Darwinism. In the first chapter Hyde "trampled" calmly over the girl without any care, this could qu estion his morality . The verb "trampled" is something inhuman and is what an anima
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