The range of narrative techniques used in Jekyll and Hyde Essay
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The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a novel that was written in 1886 by Robert Louis Stevenson. It can be understood in many different ways as it is not confined to just one genre of writing and style. Not only does the novel explore the darker side of the human nature and the duality and diversity that was present throughout the Victorian period in Britain but also the changing in beliefs at the time, for example Darwin’s theory of evolution; this was hugely influential towards the changing beliefs of scientists and, likewise, the public.
A reflection on this indecisiveness is shown through the need to have a good reputation, it was very important that a ‘proper’ gentleman such as Utterson maintained a perfect reputation in terms of social status and class otherwise people would have seen him as a lower being. Furthermore, the difference between good and evil is also explored by the novel, and how maybe everyone has two sides to them; being divided in the way that Dr Jekyll is.
The reader can interpret the narrative as either a simple detective thriller, a horror story about a doctor with mixed personalities, or a gothic narrative; in this Dr Jekyll is a representative of Victorian London and the society, the rich and the poor, good and bad, and duality. The narrator of the story is Utterson, he is also the main character and he creates a third person perspective. However, there are many more people that have their say and that contribute to the story, as well as documents and statements for the reader to take into consideration; such as witness accounts, wills and instructions. By making the reader analyse these key features Stevenson is trying to get the reader more involved in the text; also, the style of writing gives the impression that you are in a court case with several sides to the story coming from many different peoples’ perspectives.
This sense of a courtroom is strongly supported by the fact that there are several people giving their side to the story. Stevenson uses Utterson as the narrator as it is a key aspect of how a Victorian reader would have understood the novel.