‘Lord of the flies’ and ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ both deal with the good and evil sides of man, even though Golding and Stevenson wrote their books in different historical periods. The novels are both dealing in the same theme. The authors use their characters to represent the struggle between good and evil. Golding uses a group of boys to show the divide of good and evil, while Stevenson used the good and evil within one person.
As these authors use their characters to represent this struggle. It is important to see how they develop through the novel.
Ralph in ‘Lord of the Flies’ is presented as a middle class boy at the beginning of the novel. Golding describes him as ‘the boy with the fair hair’, which is a symbol of a good person. The author describes how Ralph climbs easily through the undergrowth, which is contrasted with the way in which Piggy ‘clambers’ through it. The author has put Ralph and Piggy together because they are different in both mind and body. Together they will both make a whole good person. Ralph is tall, fit, good-looking and fair-haired. Ralph has a good background with his father being in the navy. This suggests that Ralph was brought up in a good way, so he should know the difference between right and wrong. This is a stereotypical good person, but Ralph is not a thinker. Ralph does do some bad things. He betrays Piggys name by telling all the other children what Piggys name was, when Piggy told him not to. Piggy is a short, plump; he wears glasses and is an orphan.
Jack Merridew from ‘Lord of the Flies’ is first seen marching with his choir. The choir is described as a dark primitive being. Jack has a red hair, which suggests that he has an uncontrollable anger. He speaks to the choir in a military way. He talks down to them and ignores Simon when he faints. This shows that he has authority over the choir and he is insensitive towards other people’s weaknesses. Altogether I can see that he is hard, unsympathetic, cruel and possible a bully.
The first time we see Dr Jekyll in ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ is at a dinner party. He is seen as a cheerful and confident man. He is wealthy and respected chemist. Stevenson describes him as ‘a large, well made, smooth faced man’. When Utterson mentions Mr Hyde he wants it to be a secret between himself an Utterson. He also does not want to talk about it. Stevenson gives Mr Utterson the role of narrator. This is because he wants part of the story to be missing (to allow the audience to be left guessing). Dr Jekyll is described through the eyes of Utterson and this could be bias because Utterson is a friend of Dr Jekyll.
Mr Hyde is described for the first time in a story. In this story he collides with, knocks down and tramples a little girl. Hyde’s reaction is described as ‘hellish’. When other people arrive he brings out the worst in them. Even the doctor wants to kill him. When Hyde id threatened by scandal he aggress to pay compensation. He writes a check out at Dr Jekylls house with Jekylls signature. Utterson thinks he his blackmailing Jekyll.
In both novels the evil gets and takes the chance to dominate. Jack and Mr Hyde both show their more primitive side. An example of Jacks primitive side is when he hunts for pigs. He is described as ‘dog-like on all fours’ and sniffing the humid earth. This suggests that he is more like a cave man, than a civilised human being. Mr Hyde on the other hand murders Carew. In the chapter ‘search for Mr Hyde’, Utterson describes Mr Hyde as ‘trodlodytic’, ‘Dwarfish’ and ‘hardly human’. This also suggests that Mr Hyde is more like primitive man. Further backing this up, he takes a ‘hissing intake of breath’, which is what a frightened animal would do. Both authors are saying that the primitive side of man will dominate if it has the chance.
Darkness, which represents evil, and people are scared at night. Darkness is a big theme in both of the novels. Jack does his hunting in the forest, which is described from the beginning of the novel as a dark place by Golding. When Jack steels Piggys glasses he uses darkness as his cover. Simon gets killed in a frenzied attack, which happens at night. Mr Hyde is mostly seen at night. His home in So-ho is seen through a curtain of ‘swirling fog’. All of this information leads you to think that these people should be associated with darkness and evil.
The novels are reflecting events in the authors’ lives. In Golding’s time an example of how evil can flourish without people doing anything is the concentration camps of WWII. Stevenson is writing about the hypocrisy in Victorian England. Many men went to prostitutes and then they promoted family values.
Ralph and Dr Jekyll are the respected ‘civilised’ people in the two novels. Ralph is middle classed; you can see this when he talks about his father as ‘daddy’. Ralph is sensible and wants to rule democratically by using the conch and lets everyone have a vote. He has sensible ideas, to stay alive and get rescued, like the fire and shelters.
Dr Jekyll is also middle class. He is a respected chemist. The painting, which he gave Mr Hyde, shows that Dr Jekyll is cultured. The ‘pleasurable dinner parties’ he gave showed he was a confident and cheerful.
Both of these characters try to take control early in both novels yet they are not successful.
Even though both of these characters are ‘civilised’ they are not perfect. Ralph was rude to Piggy and disrespected his wishes. Ralph also took part in the killing of Simon, which shows that even he can be evil. Dr Jekyll also not perfect. He already leads a double life. Hyde grew from Dr Jekyll. Dr Jekyll did things he was ashamed of. He ‘already committed to a profound duplicity of life’.
At the end of the novels order if restored and the civilised side of man takes over again. In ‘Lord of the Flies’ order is restored by the arrival of the navy officer. When the navy officer arrives so do rules and order. This is what the navy and more importantly adults’ represent.
At the end of the ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ Dr Jekyll has to die for the evil of Mr Hyde to die. Mr Hyde kills himself. I think this was because he gains the knowledge of what he has done. He gains a conscience, which drives him to kill himself.
I feel that ‘Lord of the Flies’ is more depressing view of human nature because it deals with children which are meant to be innocent and not capable of killing. It also deals with more than one person, which shows that it could happen to everyone.