Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886. The novel is about a brilliant scientist who tries to suppress his evil side with a potion he created. Instead of destroying his evil side, it emerges as another person within Dr. Jekyll; Edward Hyde. Mr. Hyde slowly gets stronger over time and Dr. Jekyll tries to fight Hyde within himself. The theme of the novel is mans’ animal, savage or immoral nature; and the struggle to contain it. This theme is conveyed through the characters and setting.
The theme is mainly expressed through the character of Dr. Henry Jekyll. Throughout the novel, Dr. Jekyll is struggling to fight the evil within him. Dr. Jekyll creates a potion to repress his dark side but the evil is manifested into a separate being. Dr. Jekyll creates a potion to repress his dark side but the evil is manifested into a separate being. Mr. Hyde represents all the suppressed evil of Dr. Jekyll. Mr. Hyde is a dark, violent man; everything Dr. Jekyll has tried not to be. As he decides to ignore Mr. Hyde, Hyde only becomes stronger. Showing that one can never suppress the evil inside and one will always have to face that evil. The struggle between Hyde and Jekyll represents the theme of man’s animal nature and the evil within.
The theme of the evil inside is conveyed through the setting. There are two main house intimately described in the novel. Dr. Jekyll’s mansion/laboratory and Mr. Hyde’s house. Dr. Jekyll spends most of his time in his laboratory trying to perfect his serum, which triggers his transformations. As Mr. Hyde, Jekyll visits another house in order to diverge the connection between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Both houses seem, at first, like well respectable house, but then as the characters progress through the houses they become more sinister.
Dr. Jekyll’s laboratory hides all his secrets that relate to Mr. Hyde including potion samples. When Mr. Utterson goes to investigate Hyde’s house, it seems very luxurious, but as Utterson looks deeper into the house he notices that all of Hyde’s furnishings have been destroyed and paintings ruined. The way the setting is portrayed has similarities with the character of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and the theme of the evil inside.
Throughout the novel the character of Dr. Jekyll is struggling to contain his inner evil. His attempt to permanently suppress the evil manifests itself into another person known as Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll’s failed attempt to contain the evil leads to the permanent change of Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. The character of Dr. Jekyll and the houses of Hyde and Jekyll represented the theme of an evil inside and the struggle between good and evil.
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