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Understanding the nature of human beings is a complex task considering the two forces or two distinct identities existing in each person. The divide between good and evil is clearly illustrated in the book The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Stevenson. The book revolves about the mysterious events surrounding Jekyll and Hyde and how they are related to one another. The objective of this essay is to explore the duality existing in human beings based on Stevenson’s observations made in the book.
Individuals have always been searching for the meaning of life. It appears that human nature is dominated by both good and evil, which has raised concerns about the specificity of identity and how it impacts the actions of human beings. Individuals tend to be double-sided since they can demonstrate an interest in different and totally contrasting things. This aspect has led to the speculation that two contradictory things could exist within the same person.
As a result, finding the meaning of life becomes a lengthy, exhausting process that might lead to further complications to individuals.
In Stevenson’s book, Jekyll is a respected member of society and has achieved everything in life, but the underlying problem is the inherent duality existing in this character. Jekyll lives a double life, but he seems tired of hiding his evil, immoral side. Jekyll makes a statement that “man is not truly one, but truly two” (Stevenson 74). This shows that the discovery of Jekyll’s double identity created substantial problems to him in terms of finding the most appropriate way to express himself and lead a decent life.
It is apparent that human beings frequently make such a revelation about their lives. Some might accept this reality with the deep philosophical conviction that the constant struggle between good and evil within human beings is inevitable. Others might feel frustrated and unwilling to admit the confusing influence of their dual identity. The inherent duality existing in each individual should be perceived from multiple perspectives in order to find satisfactory answers to specific questions.
At the moment human beings realize the duality in their personality, they might feel either stressed or energized. The same thing happened with Jekyll. After the doctor experimented on himself and created Mr. Hyde, Jekyll felt initially uncomfortable but later experienced a moment of exaltation. Stevenson notes, “There was something strange in my sensations, something indescribably new and, from its very novelty, incredibly sweet. I felt younger, lighter, happier in body” (76-77). It is apparent from this quote that Jekyll experienced mixed feelings. Yet it should be noted that the feeling of being energized prevailed over the feeling of initial shock. One might speculate that the character was absorbed by his negative or evil side. Human beings’ revelation about the duality in their personality can frustrate or empower them, but irrespective of their emotions, it should be pointed out that human inherent duality is a fact that should be more thoroughly explored to understand people’s actions better.
The way duality is manifested in life is through the good or bad actions of human beings. Even though Jekyll tried to split the good side from the evil, this proved practically impossible. The character observed, “I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both” (Stevenson 74). A similar statement indicates that the character had realized the power of good and evil alike. The question that emerges is whether he would prefer to act good or bad. Such existential question is directly associated with the specificity of human nature. From this perspective, I can claim that I see inherent duality in my identity as well. Sometimes I act good by being kind and polite to the people around me. However, there are times during which the evil forces of my personality come at the surface. During such challenging times, I act negatively in the sense of being rude and impatient, even with closed family members. The notion of inherent duality provides a reasonable explanation for the mentioned behavior differences.
This essay explored the inherent duality existing in human beings, in line with the arguments provided by Stevenson in his novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It has been indicated that the main character in the book has a double personality, dominated by both good and evil forces. Such revelation is important to make relevant conclusions about our personality and dual identity, which can be manifested in different situations in life. In conclusion, the inherent duality of human nature is problematic, but it should not confuse us since such duality not only defines us but also creates us.
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