The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde represents a conflict between good and evil. One character (Jekyll) is determined to keep his impulses in check and ignore temptations, while the other character, Mr. Hyde, is brazen and submits to any temptation or impulse. The four main characters in the story are all men of similar social class who are capable of keeping their impulses in check and denying the temptations of evil. In the case of Dr. Jekyll however, Dr. Jekyll is not able to say no to the evils and uses an alternate identity to unleash the monster from within.
The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde can be easily related to the reader, as everybody knows the temptations of evil and the pleasures that both good and evil can bring somebody. Dr. Jekyll experiences strong tendencies of both good and bad. Unlike most men of Dr. Jekylls age and geography, Jekyll cannot keep himself from indulging in the pleasures that the evil side can provide. Jekyll’s trip into extreme evil (Mr. Hyde) is partially due to the fact that he has lived such an acceptable and exemplinary life in the past and he holds himself to a higher standard than some of his collegues.
Robert Louise Stevenson describes Dr, Jekyll as a man who “his friends were those of his own blood or those whom he had known the longest”. (Ch1. P2) Dr. Jekyll seems to only trust those whom he was most comfortable with and does not let people that he barely knows too close into his life. It is possible that Dr. Jekyll did not reach out and become friends with too many people because he was aware of the evilness that was lurking inside of him. The attitude of Dr. Jekyll is described in the opening paragraph as ” at friendly meetings and when the wine was to his taste, something eminently human beaconed from his eye”Stevenson.
Could it be possible that Dr. Jekyll was aware of the evil secret life that he hides from the real world? It appears that there was something a little strange about Dr. Jeykll that others couldn’t exactly figure out yet. Mr. Enfield is asked by Mr. Utterson to describe Dr. Jekyll so Enfield describes Jekyll as somebody who ” I never saw a man I so disliked…. he gives a strong feeling of deformity, although I couldn’t specify the point”Stevenson,pg. 1680. The bad side of Dr. Jekyll is evident just by his demeanor although it is nothing compared to the evilness of Mr.
Hyde. Mr. Hyde represents the dark side of Dr, Jekyll. Hyde only comes to life when Jekyll takes the drug that brings him out. The drug that unleashes Hyde at first makes Jekyll feel terribly sick but shortly after, Jekyll feels incredible and almost as though he is not human. Jekyll’s evil fantasies and impulses become a reality after he takes the drug. The drug makes Jekyll feel like he is a whole different person and that allows him to do whatever evil things he wants to do. The good in Jekyll is only returned if he takes an antidote.
Just like many other people there is a constant struggle between good and evil of our everyday lives. People who struggle with drugs or alcohol or any other worldly temptations live a similar life to the one that Dr. Jekyll lives. Life is not easy for anybody and sometimes people need to escape their reality for a little while by taking a drug just like Jekyll does. Stevenson does well in creating a parallel between good and evil that people can relate to in their everyday lives. Stevenson’s story is very similar to a modern film called “Limitless” staring Bradley Cooper.
In “Limitless”, Cooper, a young man struggling to pay his bills, tries a new drug that gives him extreme brain power which he uses to achieve great wealth and success. The success is only attainable with the use of the drug and without the drug, Cooper becomes sick and very weak, similar to what happens with Dr. Jekyll when he is without the drug. Just like Jekyll, Coopers health starts to dwindle as the supply of drugs becomes smaller and smaller. Stevenson is perhaps trying to teach the reader a valuable lesson in saying no to the temptations of evil.
These temptations can often be difficult to ignore. Stevnson seems to suggest the Dr. Jekyll is the victim of a split personality disorder which was a new concept during the Victorian age. The only difference between Dr. Jekyll’s condition and a split personality disorder is that in the case of somebody suffering from split personalities, the person is aware of the other personality and can bring this person out willfully. Mr. Hyde however, cannot control Jekyll’s personalty and is not even aware of him. Dr.
Jekyll is aware of Mr, Hyde though and understands the evilness that Mr. Hyde causes when Jekyll loses control and takes the drug too much. Mr. Hyde begins to take complete control Stvenson might be suggesting that even if a person is good, once they give into their evil tendencies there is no trunigng back. When Dr. Jekyll starts to flirt with hs bad sidem he begins to lose control of his personality and he eventually loses his friends and good nature. Stevnson displays the power of good will and the consewuences of even the first approach at evil.
Once somebody is indulged into a bad habit, they can let their abad habit take control of their lives and it becomes extremely difficult to come back from the evilness once it has become a major part of your life. Dr. Jekyll says, “with every day and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truthby whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two” Stevenson. Jekyll is describing the affects of his choices and how he is now truning into his bad side for good because that is the person that he has become.
Stevenson’s main goal in writing this story is to create horror and excitement for the reader. He leaves the reader to draw their own conclusions about the message in the story but it is clear to me that this story is about human nature and the batte of good vs. evil. Once a human gives into their temtations they are more likely to indulge in these evil deeds again and again. Dr. Jekyll tried a drug that made him into a different person and he enjoye giving into his evil tendencies. Eventually these evil tendencies took control over Jekyll and he became too evil to return to the good natured Dr. the his colleagues knew.
Courtney from Study Moose
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